The Japanese Transport Ministry is to reduce landing and control tower service charges at domestic airports from fiscal year 1999. Landing fees will be slashed by one-third, while fees for control tower services and other facilities will also be lowered in an attempt to invigorate domestic air routes. The reductions will apply to 20 airports under central government administration, including Shin-Chitose, Sendai and Fukuoka. The fees at the four international hub airports, Narita, Haneda, Kansai and Itami, are unchanged. The ministry is also to urge local governments to lower fees at 56 other airports under their management.

Uzbekistan has selected a Marubeni-led group to upgrade airports at Samarkand, Bukhara and Urgench. Work to upgrade control towers, passenger terminals, radar facilities and other facilities starts in October. Completion is set for mid-2000. A Japanese consortium is already involved in extending the runways.

Work on building a new terminal at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion Airport is due to start by the end of the year. The Israeli Airports Authority has awarded a contract to Turkish company Ceylan to build the airside section. The terminal will have 24 gates and is planned to increase capacity from 7 million to 12 million passengers a year. The terminal is scheduled to open in mid-2002.

Lombardia regional authorities in northern Italy have approved plans to build a new airport in Brescia-Montichiari, using the current Italian air force base at Ghedi. In the first instance, the base will be used temporarily while nearby Catullo Airport in Verona is closed for three months to undergo repairs, but it is widely expected that the airport will remain open as a regional gateway.

Traffic at Milan's Malpensa and Linate airports rose by 7.1% in the first half of this year to 9.3 million passengers. Cargo figures rose even more dramatically. Traffic was up 18.5% to 105,000t compared with the same period in 1997.

Source: Flight International