Kumamoto Airport operation project takes step forward

A consortium of companies including ANA Holdings and Japan Airlines, named MSJA-Kumamoto Consortium has formed an agreement with Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) in the operation of Kumamoto Airport.

In a statement, the consortium, represented by Mitsui Fudosan Co. announced it has been awarded Preferred Negotiation Right on the Qualified Project for Kumamoto Airport Operation. The Consortium executed the Basic Agreement on 22 April 2019 with the Ministry.

In a statement the group said: “This business will prioritise safe and reliable airport operations while aiming to contribute to the region’s continued recovery from the 2016 Kumamoto earthquakes.

“The consortium hopes that by utilising the Kumamoto Airport’s geographical advantages – that is, its proximity to the rest of East Asia – and the prefecture’s abundant tourist draws, such as the Aso and Amakusa areas, they can increase traffic through Kumamoto, reinvigorating the airport and surrounding environs.”

The group will begin preparations to establish an SPC (Special Purpose Company) for the project and conclude a Project Agreement based on the Basic Agreement, in advance of the project’s scheduled start date on 1 April 2020.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) revealed the decision to outsource the operation of Kumamoto Airport to the private sector from 2020 in an announcement last year, explaining that the decision was made “with the aim to accelerate the reconstruction of the quake-hit Kumamoto Airport and to achieve a utilisation promotion and service improvement of the airport.”

“The private sector outsourcing of the operation at Kumamoto Airport should become a symbol of creative reconstruction after the Kumamoto earthquake, and we therefore will tackle an unprecedented project to build a new terminal building with much enhanced seismic capacity uniting domestic and international terminals, after demolishing the domestic terminal building damaged by the earthquake,” the MLIT continued.

The Ministry hopes to attract inbound tourism and low-cost carrier demand as a result of efforts to invite new routes and improve customer services, through utilising experience of the private sector.

According to the MLIT’s planned schedule, the start of the business of building facilities is expected for July 2019, and the start of airport operations is expected in April 2020.

The contract agreement would last for 33 years and cover the operation of the airport, terminal building and car parks.

The consortium is represented by Mitsui Fudosan Co. and is also comprised Kyushu Electric Power Co., Ltd.; Kyushu Industrial Transportation Holdings Co., Ltd.; Kumamoto Telecasting Co., Ltd; Saishunkan Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.; Kyushu Sanko Unyu Co., Ltd.; Sojitz Corporation; Japan Airport Terminal Co., Ltd.; The Sankei Building Co., Ltd.; ANA HOLDINGS INC.; and Japan Airlines Co., Ltd.

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