Ibaraki targets LCCs

TOYKO’s Ibaraki Airport, which opened last March, is positioning itself as a specialised budget hub for low-cost carriers (LCCs) by offering cheaper landing fees and facility charges, keeping terminal facilities to a minimum and providing independent groundhandlers.

Mitsuya Yuasa, airport promotion division chief of Ibaraki Prefectural Government, said the airport can handle 10 flights a day and aircraft as large as a B767-300ER.

Located 80km from the heart of Tokyo, Ibaraki currently offers flights by Asiana Airlines (Seoul-Ibaraki), Spring Airlines (Shanghai-Ibaraki) and SKYMARK (Sapporo, Nagoya and Kobe-Ibaraki).

Tokyo’s other airports are Haneda Airport and Narita International Airport, both of which do not have budget terminal facilities.

At last week’s Low Cost Airlines World Asia Pacific 2011 conference in Singapore, Mike Gamo, CEO of Narita International Airport Corporation, voiced the urgent need for Narita to “assess the possibility of having its own low cost terminal” to court LCCs.

“We can use terminal two in the interim to accommodate LCCs, but we have to decide soon whether to (allocate) part of the airport (as the budget terminal) or build a separate wing,” he said. “We are also studying how to lower landing fees and facility charges.”

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