Kitakyūshū Airport (北九州空港 Kitakyūshū-kūkō) (IATA: KKJ, ICAO: RJFR) is an airport 3 km (1.9 mi) off the coast of Kitakyūshū, Fukuoka Japan. It is built on an artificial island in the western Seto Inland Sea. It opened on March 16, 2006 as New Kitakyushu Airport (新北九州空港 Shin-kitakyūshū-kūkō) but was renamed in 2008. It is designated a second class airport, and it has some international charter flights.
It is the fourth airport in Japan to operate 24 hours a day (after New Chitose International Airport (Sapporo), Kansai International Airport (Osaka) and Chubu International Airport (Nagoya)).
The former Kitakyūshū Airport had restrictions on aircraft operation due to its small size and location, close to mountains and residential areas. Heavy fog often resulted in flight cancellations. There were similar problems at the nearby Fukuoka Airport, which cannot engage in nighttime operations due to proximity to residential areas.
A new airport was intended to be free from such problems due to its offshore location, making possible 24-hour operation. Large cargo planes can use the airport, making possible convenient freight movement to and from nearby industrial zones. Toyota has a factory just across the bay from the airport.
A committee to promote the construction of the new airport was founded in 1978, with the governor of Fukuoka as chairman. Construction began in October 1994.
The new airport was anticipated by residents in and around the cities of Kitakyūshū and Shimonoseki. The Kitakyushu municipal government organized bus tours to the construction site for interested citizens in an attempt to defuse controversy over the construction. The airport officially opened on March 16, 2006.
The first aircraft to land at the airport was a StarFlyer Airbus on February 8, 2006. The first international flight from Shanghai landed on March 26, 2006. A Korean low-cost carrier, Jeju Air, flew eight charter flights from Kitakyushu to Incheon International Airport in summer 2008. Scheduled service on the route started in March 2009.
Several events were held to commemorate the opening of the airport. A marathon was held on February 5, 2006 with half-marathon, 10 kilometre and five kilometre courses to celebrate the opening of the new airport. On June 4, 2006, a rugby game was played at Honjo Stadium between Japan and Tonga as part of the inaugural IRB Pacific 5 Nations series.
On August 2, 2006, the one millionth user of the airport was presented with souvenirs. By July 11, 2007, three million passengers had used the airport.
The runway is 2,500 by 60 m (8,202 by 197 ft) (with a separate taxiway of 2,500 by 30 m (8,202 by 98 ft)), enough to accommodate Boeing 747s and other large jet aircraft. The manmade island on which the airport is built is 4,125 m (13,533 ft) long and 900 m (2,953 ft) wide (3.73 km (1.44 sq mi)). Due to the island's size and the relative shallowness of the surrounding water (about 7 m (23 ft)),future expansion is possible.
Airlines and destinations
A 2.1 km toll-free bridge connects the island to the Higashikyūshū Expressway via the Kanda-Kitakyūshūkūkō interchange. A direct rail link from Kokura Station, 15 km away, may be established depending on demand.
Airport buses ferry passengers to and from nearby rail stations and bus terminals:
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