Mitsubishi Estate to develop and operate Shimoji Airport

Okinawa Prefecture signed Wednesday a letter of intent with Mitsubishi Estate Company and FSO, a Japanese flight simulator training service company currently nominated to manage flight-training activity on Shimoji Airport on Shimoji Island. The letter of intent covers the future business operations on Shimoji Airport and adjacent land in Miyako-jima City.

Hoshino Resorts, one of the largest operators of resorts and hotels in Japan, was earlier one of the contenders to take over the area development, but declined to because of conditions for the deal did not match its plans.

According to Mitsubishi Estate the trial calculations, the area is expected to attract 380,000 visitors in 2022. Okinawa Prefecture estimates the economic effects of the tourist influx to reach ¥14.8 billion per year.

Shimoji Airport was once used as a pilot training center for domestic airlines, however, the airport came to a standstill after all airlines withdrew and move the training elsewhere. The airport is now envisioned to become a hub for new sightseeing spots. Okinawa Governor Takeshi Onaga says, “It will have a huge impact on Miyako tour business that will have side effects not only within Miyako but also to all areas of Okinawa.”

Mitsubishi Estate explained their plan to build a passenger terminal and villa type resort on the area that has never existed in Japan. The idea is to use the airport and runway to invite private jets of high-income tourists, augmented with regular international and domestic flight services including LCC flights. The company plans to start the operations in the arport in October 2018.