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Shimoji training airport closure urged

Date Posted: 1998-08-07

A Board of Audit report to the Ministry of transportation has suggested that the ministry stops funding to an airport on Shimoji Island, off Miyako Island about 200 miles south-west from Naha. The airport is the only training airport in the nation, and the board has concluded that the airport is no more useful, because the airlines can use simulators for the same purpose more effectively and economically.

The airport was constructed in 1979 and accommodated commercial flights from its opening to 1994 when regular flights between Shimoji and Naha were discontinued due to the lack of passengers.

The airport has a control tower and an administrative office with a staff of more than 50 costing the government several billion yen a year.

Because of the increased use of simulators, the average number of landings and take-offs per day last year had dropped to 35, only a half what it used to be. The board concludes that the money spent on running the airport is a waste and recommends the government to close it.

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