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New Ishigaki Airport Opened Mar. 7 - Bigger Terminal and Runway for Mid-Size Aircraft

New Ishigaki Airport Opened Mar. 7 - Bigger Terminal and Runway for Mid-Size Aircraft

Paeagle, a mascot character of Ishigaki Airport.

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New Ishigaki Airport opened on March 7 in Ishigaki, Okinawa Prefecture.

The airport, built at a new site about 11 kilometers from downtown, replaces its predecessor, Ishigaki Airport. The new 2,000-meter runway is 500 meters longer than the old one, allowing mid-size aircraft such as Boeing 767s to land and take off. New Ishigaki, which makes accessing the island far easier, has been nicknamed Bainushima Ishigaki Airport.

The new terminal building is a two-story reinforced concrete structure. With a floor space of around 12,500 square meters, it is roughly 3.5 times larger than the old terminal. The design concept was made "out of consideration for the natural and social environment, contributing to local development, and responding to travelers' needs." The design, colors, sounds and other distinctive characteristics of the terminal "suit the character of the Yaeyama Islands," of which Ishigaki is a part. There are four aircraft parking spaces, and land has been reserved on the north and south sides of the terminal for future expansions that may allow the airport to handle international routes.

From the planning stage, the new airport's construction was the subject of a long debate concerning its environmental impact, among other concerns. Local media also report that islanders are organizing efforts to sue the Japanese government over the airport's safety.

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