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Hyakuri Airfield · Ibaraki Airport
Hyakuri Air Base
Hyakuri Hikōjō · Hyakuri kichi
Airport type Military/Public
Operator JASDF
Location Omitama, Ibaraki, Japan
Elevation AMSL 107 ft / 33 m
Coordinates 36°10′54″N 140°24′53″E / 36.18167°N 140.41472°E / 36.18167; 140.41472Coordinates: 36°10′54″N 140°24′53″E / 36.18167°N 140.41472°E / 36.18167; 140.41472

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Direction Length Surface
m ft
03L/21R 2,700 8,858 Concrete
03R/21L 2,700 8,858 Concrete
Source: Source: Japanese AIP at AIS Japan[1]

Location of Ibaraki Airport

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.[2] 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.[3] As of March 2012, a total of three routes are operated from the airport, all by low-cost carriers.[4]

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.[5]

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.[6]

Interest in the airport has been expressed by the Malaysian carrier Air Asia X[7][8][9] as well as Korean airline Asiana,[10] but only the latter has committed to flying out of the airport on a fixed basis.[11] 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).[12] 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.[13] On March 11, 2011, the roof of one of the terminals came down in an earthquake but has since been repaired.

A total of 860,000 people visited the airport terminal in its first year[14] with 203,070 of those being traveling passengers.[15]

Asiana Airlines ceased operations from Incheon International Airport to Ibaraki Airport following the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[16] 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).[16]

Airlines and destinations[edit | edit source]

Airlines Destinations 
Skymark Airlines Kobe, Sapporo-Chitose
Seasonal: Naha
Spring Airlines Shanghai-Pudong
Myanmar Airways International Yangon (starts December 2013)[16]

Ground transportation[edit | edit source]

Buses[edit | edit source]

Buses connect Ibaraki Airport with various train stations in Ibaraki prefecture to Tokyo station:

  • 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.[17]

Japan Air Self-Defense Force[edit | edit source]

F-15J Eagle of the JASDF 7th Air Wing at Hyakuri Airshow.

Central Air Defense Force[edit | edit source]

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]

External links[edit | edit source]

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