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Kobe Airport



Kobe Airport
神戸空港
Kōbe Kūkō
Kobe Airport
IATA: UKB – ICAO: RJBE
Kobe Airport
Summary
Airport type Public
Owner City of Kobe
Operator Osaka Aviation Bureau (airfield), Kobe Airport Terminal Co., Ltd. (terminal)
Serves Kobe, Japan
Location Chuo-ku, Kobe
Elevation AMSL 22 ft / 7 m
Coordinates 34°37′58″N 135°13′26″E / 34.63278°N 135.22389°E / 34.63278; 135.22389 (Kobe Airport)Coordinates: 34°37′58″N 135°13′26″E / 34.63278°N 135.22389°E / 34.63278; 135.22389 (Kobe Airport)
Website www.kairport.co.jp
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
09/27 2,500 8,202 Asphalt concrete
Source: Japanese AIP at AIS Japan

Kobe Airport (神戸空港 Kōbe Kūkō) (IATA: UKB, ICAO: RJBE) is an airport on an artificial island just off the coast of Kobe, 8 km (5.0 mi) south of Sannomiya Station Japan. It primarily handles domestic flights, but can also accommodate international charter flights. It is designated as a third class airport.

In the first year of operation (2006) the airport handled 2,697,000 passengers at 61.1% capacity.

History

The city government of Kobe first proposed an airport adjacent to Port Island in 1971. At the time, government planners were seeking alternatives to the heavily congested Osaka International Airport: the original Kobe Airport plan called for six runways more than 3,000 m (9,843 ft) in length on a 1,100 ha (2,700 acres) facility. The mayor of Kobe, Tatsuo Miyazaki, declared his opposition to building such a large airport so close to the city, and was re-elected shortly afterward in 1973, defeating a competitor who supported the airport.

Kobe businesses were still interested in the plan, however, and pressed the city government to propose a smaller facility with one 3,000 m (9,843 ft) runway. This plan was submitted to the Transport Ministry in 1982 as a competitor for the Kansai International Airport plan which was then being supported by the Osaka and Wakayama prefectural governments. After the national government voiced its displeasure with the Kobe proposal, Kobe officially switched its support to the Kansai Airport proposal in 1984, but in 1985 decided to independently fund the construction of another airport.


Kobe Airport (bottom) under construction in 2003
Kobe Airport (bottom) under construction in 2003

The construction of the airport was stalled for lack of funding until 1995, when it won national government support as a means for recovering the Kobe economy in the wake of the great Hanshin earthquake. Despite ongoing controversy, locals continued to support the plan: in the 1997 mayoral election, the pro-airport coalition won a narrow victory over the anti-airport coalition.

Construction began in September 1999 but political controversy continued. 87,000 signatures were collected in a petition to recall the mayor in 2000, and a citizen lawsuit to cancel the project was dismissed in 2004. The airport finally opened on February 16, 2006, with Japan Airlines operating the first flight and All Nippon Airways operating the first scheduled flight.

Both ANA and JAL announced plans to replace portions of their widebody fleet with a larger number of mid-size aircraft, in part because of a need to fill the excess number of flight slots created by Kobe Airport's construction.

Kobe is already the most indebted municipality in Japan with debts of over ¥3 trillion, and this project's cost (estimated at over ¥1 trillion, or US $8.7 billion) has made it very controversial. Supporters argue that the third airport can mean increased competition and lower airfares. People in the surrounding regions (Shikoku, Awaji Island etc.) can now have a closer airport while access to Kansai may be limited. Since the ferry from Tokushima to Kansai Airport was discontinued, travellers have had to rely on alternate means of transportation including a bus to Kansai Airport, which takes an hour longer, or to use the local Tokushima airport, which is limited in schedules.

Airlines and destinations

Passenger concourse
Passenger concourse

Kobe has a single passenger terminal with four gates capable of accommodating widebody aircraft.

Airlines Destinations
All Nippon Airways Naha, Sapporo-Chitose, Tokyo-Haneda
Amakusa Airlines Kumamoto [ends 31 October]
Skymark Airlines Asahikawa, Ibaraki, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, Naha, Sapporo-Chitose, Tokyo-Haneda

Some international charter flights also use Kobe Airport. Although the airport's runway is not long enough to handle long-range flights to Europe and the Americas, it occasionally handles charters to China and other nearby countries.

The Transport Ministry has banned "scheduled international charters" (such as those serving Haneda Airport) and has capped scheduled domestic operations at 30 daily flights in order to prevent overcrowding in the area's airspace and to protect the growth of Kansai Airport. The flight caps have been a point of controversy with Kobe Airport supporters, who point out that the cap was calculated based on Kansai Airport operating twice as many frequencies as are currently offered: given the current traffic levels at Kansai, Kobe should be able to handle six or seven flights per hour.

Although airlines have experienced some success with routes to the most popular domestic destinations, such as Tokyo, Sapporo and Okinawa, routes to secondary cities have been less successful. Since the airport's opening, ANA has terminated service to Niigata, Kagoshima and Sendai while JAL has terminated service to Sendai and Kumamoto.

As part of JAL's restructuring due to bankruptcy, JAL has terminated all services out of Kobe and closed its office on June 1st, 2010, which started with the discontinuation of the Tokyo-Haneda route on April 1st of that year.

Ground transportation

On February 2, 2006, Kobe Airport Station (神戸空港駅) was connected to Sannomiya Station in central Kobe by an extension of the existing Port Liner automated guideway transit system. Travel time to Sannomiya is 16 minutes. From Sannomiya, it is 21 minutes to Ōsaka Station and 49 minutes to Kyoto Station by JR special rapid express.

Kobe Airport is connected to Kansai Airport by the Kobe-Kanku Bay Shuttle (神戸-関空ベイ・シャトル), a high speed ferry which completes the airport-to-airport journey in 29 minutes for ¥1,500.

Kobe Airport and transportations to the downtown
Kobe Airport and transportations to the downtown

Related matters

  • Port of Kobe
  • Port Island
  • Hanshin Industrial Region

Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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Kobe Airport

Kobe Airport
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General Info
Country Japan
ICAO ID RJBE
Time UTC+9
Latitude 34.632778
34° 37' 58.00" N
Longitude 135.223889
135° 13' 26.00" E
Elevation 22 feet
7 meters
Type Civil
Magnetic Variation 007° W (01/06)
Operating Agency CIVIL GOVERNMENT, (LANDING FEES AND DIPLOMATIC CLEARANCE MAY BE REQUIRED)
Island Group HONSHU I


Communications
TWR 118.5
126.2
KANSAI TCA
2300-1200Z
121.1
125.3
270.8
ATIS 128.075
KANSAI RADAR 121.15
125.5
261.2
121.5
243.0


Runways
ID Dimensions Surface PCN ILS
09/27 8202 x 200 feet
2500 x 61 meters
ASPHALT 063FBXT YES


Navaids
Type ID Name Channel Freq Distance From Field Bearing From Navaid
VOR-DME KCE KOBE 049Y 111.25 At Field -


Remarks
FUEL A1.
MISC Rwy grooved.
OPR HOURS Opr 2200-1300Z.



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