MLIT Starting Environmental Impact Assessment this Fiscal Year for 2nd Fukuoka Airport Runway

An environmental impact assessment will be conducted this fiscal year (ending March 31) at Fukuoka Airport in Fukuoka, Fukuoka Prefecture relating to plans to construct a second runway.

After Japan's government finalized a budget for FY2012, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) decided on April 6 to begin work on surveys relating to the construction plan that is part of the maintenance work happening at the airport this fiscal year. Under the plan, the new runway will be the first project, followed by others including creating multiple taxiways for aircraft navigating about the airport, improvements to the existing runway and modifications to the domestic passenger terminal area to accommodate these changes.

The new construction will lay a 2,500-meter runway alongside the current 2,800-meter runway. According to the MLIT, completing the multiple taxiways will help the airport handle air traffic as high as 183,000 planes a year, roughly 1.26 times current volume. Construction will take around seven years, though it will not begin until after the environmental impact assessment. The total cost of all the changes to the airport is estimated at JPY 180 billion.

According to the MLIT, Fukuoka Airport is a major hub for domestic air traffic, with only larger airports such as Haneda and Narita International receiving more. Fukuoka's single runway handles more traffic than any other in Japan, and traffic at the airport is forecast to rise to 176,000 planes a year by FY2030. The expansions are needed to ensure safe and steady operations.