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Naha airport designated to become national hub

Date Posted: 2002-06-09

The Ministry of Transportation plans to increase the number of official hub airports in the nation by three. The new designated hubs are Naha, Fukuoka and Shin-Chitose in Hokkaido. The designation means that the airport will get more financing for development from national coffers. The five-year development plan envisions the traffic to increase by 20 percent by 2008 when 12,8 million passengers are expected to go through the airport annually. The airport is scheduled to have a second runway parallel to the existing one, and its maintenance facilities will be improved.

Upon hearing the ministry’s plans, Okinawa Governor Keiichi Inamine sated that he is please with the plans. “This is almost a dream come true to us. It means that officials in Tokyo believe our expectations to be true,” Inamine said. Not everybody sees things as rosy. “Is there space enough for so big traffic, and will there really be enough people to use the airport,” are two of the most often expressed comments.

The ministry plans to conduct public surveys within this month concerning the airport plans. A planning committee will then take up the matter in August and the final decision will be made by the end of the year.

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