Japanese airport joins lobby pressing for change of rules governing corporate aviation to promote sector growth

Japan's Komaki airport will attempt to reposition itself as a centre for business jets after a new international airport opens outside Nagoya in 2005.

Komaki has joined several parties in the fledgling Japanese corporate aviation community in an attempt to pressure the Japanese government to relax regulations governing business jets.

Foreign-based business jets can only park at Japanese airports if they have a firm and near-term date of departure. Some in the Japanese business aviation industry believe foreign operators would be interested in basing aircraft in Japan if this rule was lifted. Interested operators include foreign-based fractional ownership or charter companies and international corporations with large Japanese operations.

General aviation is also severely restricted or banned at all of Japan's major airports, including Tokyo Narita and Tokyo Haneda. As a result there are few Japanese-registered corporate jets. Indigenous companies such as Toyota operate business jets in the USA but not in Japan.

Nagoya plans to host a conference on 1 March to discuss the Japanese business jet market and possible growth at Komaki and other Japanese airports. All major business jet manufacturers have been asked to give presentations at the conference, which is being sponsored by the US embassy.

Komaki today cannot accommodate business jets because there is no space available for parking. But after the Central Japan International airport opens next year Komaki will be under-used and some passenger terminals could be converted into a corporate aviation facility. Komaki, located near downtown Nagoya and a little under 2h from Tokyo by train, believes it can also cater to the Tokyo business jet market because operations at Haneda are generally limited to late at night.

Kobe, outside Osaka, is similarly trying to promote its new airport, also to open in 2005, as a potential business jet centre.

The Japan Business Aviation Association (JBAA) says there are only 15 business jets registered in the country, but says demand for international business jet services to and from Japan could swell registrations to 100 in five years. The opening of four new airports in Japan in 2005, including at Nagoya and Kobe, will help support business jet expansion but will not improve the situation in Tokyo, JBAA says.

Source: Flight International