|Hyakuri Airfield · Ibaraki Airport|
Hyakuri Air Base
Hyakuri Hikōjō · Hyakuri kichi
|IATA: IBR – ICAO: RJAH|
|Location||Omitama, Ibaraki, Japan|
|Elevation AMSL||107 ft / 33 m|
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|Source: Source: Japanese AIP at AIS Japan|
Ibaraki Airport is an airport in the city of Omitama, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. It also serves as air base for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force under the name Hyakuri Air Base. The airport was known as Hyakuri Airfield (百里飛行場 Hyakuri Hikōjō ) prior to March 2010, when civil aviation operations began. The airport is located about 53 mi (85 km) north of Tokyo, and is intended to serve as a low-cost alternative to Tokyo's larger Narita and Haneda airports. Built as a result of large public investment, the airport has been criticized as being a symbol of wasteful government spending and as being unnecessary, opening with only one flight per day. As of March 2012, a total of three routes are operated from the airport, all by low-cost carriers.
History[edit | edit source]
The airfield was first developed by the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1937, with much of the land claimed from local farmers under the orders of Emperor Hirohito. After the end of World War II, the locals reclaimed the land and resumed farming. The base was reopened in 1956 by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, which took control of the land once again. Many farmers who live around the base have refused to sell their lands to the government to enable expansion of the airfield.
There should be a mention of the use of USAF as a practice bombing range at least in late 1960s when a USAF EMC team made measurements there.
In March 2010, after a 22 billion yen ($243 million) local and national government investment, the airfield was renamed to Ibaraki Airport, and civil aviation operations began. At the time of opening, Ibaraki offered two flights, an Asiana service to Seoul, South Korea, and to Kobe in western Japan, by Skymark Airlines. The original plans for a three-story terminal with separate arrivals, departures, and sightseeing levels was scrapped by the governor of Ibaraki Prefecture, Masaru Hashimoto, who ordered the building to be reduced to one story in height, to reduce costs. The airport will eschew jetways, with passengers boarding planes from the tarmac. Additional cost-cutting measures, intended to allow the airport to charge lower landing fees than those at Narita and Haneda, include the use of aircraft parking procedures that reduce or eliminate the need for pushback tractors, and the possibility of having the passengers carry their own luggage to the aircraft, a practice used at some regional airports in the United States.
Interest in the airport has been expressed by the Malaysian carrier Air Asia X as well as Korean airline Asiana, but only the latter has committed to flying out of the airport on a fixed basis. TransAsia Airways has committed to flights to and from Taipei's Taoyuan Airport on a semi-regular basis from March to May. During the May holiday, charters to Guam, Cebu, Bali, and Hainan will operate out of the airport. Also, China-based low-cost carrier Spring Airlines has chosen this airport as its Tokyo-area destination with its recent approval for international flying. It planned to run three charter flights a week from Shanghai-Pudong starting from about the end of July 2010 for about two months, switching to scheduled flights at the end of this period (around the end of the World Expo). However, it has started selling seats on the charters in the same manner as a normal flight since September 2010, much like the early Hongqiao-Haneda "scheduled charters" and has operated the flight as a scheduled service starting from 2011. In addition, it has now increased service to five flights a week.
As of March 2011, flights to Shanghai were operating at 80% capacity and the flights to Kobe at 50% capacity. On March 11, 2011, the roof of one of the terminals came down in an earthquake but has since been repaired.
Asiana Airlines ceased operations from Incheon International Airport to Ibaraki Airport following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. In August 2013, Myanmar Airways International signed a letter of intent to begin thrice-weekly direct "program charter" service between Yangon and Ibaraki by December 2013. MAI stated that they wished to avoid the overcrowding of Narita and Kansai Airport, and that Ibaraki Prefecture waged a year-long lobbying campaign which included visits to the Myanmar ambassador in Tokyo. This flight will be the second regularly-scheduled flight between Japan and Myanmar (the first being All Nippon Airways service between Narita and Yangon).
Airlines and destinations[edit | edit source]
|Skymark Airlines||Kobe, Sapporo-Chitose |
|Myanmar Airways International||Yangon (starts December 2013)|
Ground transportation[edit | edit source]
Buses[edit | edit source]
Buses connect Ibaraki Airport with various train stations in Ibaraki prefecture to Tokyo station:
- Ishioka Station on the JR Joban Line is the closest serviced station by bus., from there, journey time to Tokyo station is one hour 40 minutes to two and half hours by railway, depending on exact route.
- One can also go points northward by bus from the airport bus connection to Mito Station (Ibaraki). or to Narita Airport via Kashima Rinkai Railway from Mito.
- Additionally, there is a shuttle bus which serves as a direct connection between Tokyo Station and the airport. The journey time is approximately 2.5 hours (1 hour 40 min. from Tokyo to Ibaragi), reservations are required, and the fee for airline passengers is 500 yen.
Japan Air Self-Defense Force[edit | edit source]
Central Air Defense Force[edit | edit source]
- 7th Air Wing
Air Defense Command[edit | edit source]
- Tactical Reconnaissance Group
- 501st Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron (RF-4E,RF-4EJ,T-4)
Air Support Command[edit | edit source]
References[edit | edit source]
- AIS Japan
- Opening date - Bloomberg.com
- Japan opens 98th national airport in Ibaraki - BBC News
- Airports tap budget airline benefits
- Gilionna, John M. (2009-09-10). "Farmers Wage Turf Battle With Japan Air Force". Los Angeles Times. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-japan-peacepark10-2009sep10,0,464567.story.
- In Japan, No-Frills Airport Lures Bargain Players
- 茨城空港：エア・アジアＸ、就航に意欲 県と自民県連幹部、マレーシア訪問 ／茨城 - 毎日ｊｐ(毎日新聞) (Japanese)
- マレーシア格安航空のエア・アジアＸが日本就航 (日本経済新聞, 20 May 2008) (Japanese)
- 東南アジアの格安航空 日本就航へ虎視眈々 徹底合理化で好調維持 (14 June 2008) (Japanese)
- DESCENT INTO JAL BANKRUPTCY / Unpopular airports albatross around necks
- 中国の格安航空会社、茨城空港に上海便就航表明 (7 June 2010)
- Kyodo News, "Ibaraki Airport fails to take off", Japan Times, 10 March 2011, p. 7.
- "茨城空港にミャンマー便就航へ". 19 August 2013. http://www.nikkei.com/article/DGXNZO58671170Z10C13A8L60000/. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
- Ibaragi Airport Access
[edit | edit source]
- Official site (English)
- 百里飛行場民間共用化 (Omitama City) (Japanese)
- いばらきの空港・百里飛行場／茨城県企画部空港対策室 (Ibaraki Prefecture) (Japanese)
- 関東地方整備局予算の概要 (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport) (Japanese)
- 国土交通省関東地方整備局港湾空港部 (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport) (Japanese)
- Current weather for RJAH at NOAA/National Weather Service
- JASDF Official site(English)航空自衛隊
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