Nagoya Komaki to open terminal this year as regulations show signs of easing

Several Japanese airports are planning to open facilities to handle business aircraft and their passengers as Japan's small business jet market starts to shows signs of liberalisation.

The Japan Business Aviation Association (JBAA) expects Nagoya Komaki airport to open Japan's first dedicated business aviation terminal later this year and says airports in Kobe, Kita Kyushu and Osaka are considering building similar facilities.

Komaki began accepting business aircraft in February, when a new international airport outside Nagoya opened, and is now renovating part of its old passenger terminal to handle business aircraft. The new facility will include a lounge for business aircraft passengers and a customs, inspection and quarantine centre. At almost all Japanese airports, including Tokyo Narita, business aircraft now must clear customs in airline passenger terminals and share facilities with other types of operators.

JBAA vice-chairman Masaki Nakatani says new airports in Kobe near Osaka and Kita Kyushu in southern Japan have identified business aircraft as a potential key revenue source and are considering building dedicated facilities. Osaka Kansai is also discussing with JBAA how it can entice more business aircraft, because the opening of a second runway will increase its capacity beyond the demand of airlines. A dedicated facility and reduced landing fees are two alternatives under consideration.

While the problem of airport infrastructure is being addressed, the JBAA warns it still must make progress in its attempt to ease government regulations. Registering, operating and maintaining business aircraft in Japan is costly because of stringent Japan Civil Aviation Bureau (JCAB) requirements.

"We're now asking JCAB to consider our problem. But our request to revise civil aviation law is a burden to JCAB," says Nakatani. JBAA is hoping a US government declaration last month that business aviation restrictions are a barrier to trade in Japan will help convince the JCAB to ease regulations. There are only six business jets registered today in Japan, excluding government-operated aircraft, and there are no VIP charter operators. "Demand is suppressed because of a lack of understanding, a lack of infrastructure and poor regulation," says Nakatani.

Demand for flights of foreign-registered business jets is also suppressed because overseas operators must apply at least three days in advance for landing slots at any Japanese airport, for both domestic and international flights. But this is an improvement over a former 10-day requirement, which was in effect until February.


Source: Flight International