Ibaraki Airport

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Hyakuri Airfield · Ibaraki Airport
Hyakuri Air Base
百里飛行場/百里基地
Hyakuri Hikōjō · Hyakuri kichi
Ibaraki Airport 01.JPG
Summary
Airport type Military/Public
Operator JASDF
Serves Mito, Japan
Location Omitama, Ibaraki, Japan
Elevation AMSL 107 ft / 33 m
Coordinates 36°10′54″N 140°24′53″E / 36.18167°N 140.41472°E / 36.18167; 140.41472Coordinates: 36°10′54″N 140°24′53″E / 36.18167°N 140.41472°E / 36.18167; 140.41472
Website Ibaraki Airport
Map
RJAH is located in Ibaraki Prefecture
RJAH
RJAH
Location in Japan
RJAH is located in Japan
RJAH
RJAH
RJAH (Japan)
Runways
Direction Length Surface
m ft
03L/21R 2,700 8,858 Concrete
03R/21L 2,700 8,858 Concrete
Statistics (2015)
Passengers 538,227
Cargo (metric tonnes) 300
Aircraft movement 4,992
Location of Ibaraki Airport

Ibaraki Airport is an airport in the city of Omitama, Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. It also serves as air base for the Japan Air Self-Defense Force (JASDF) under the name Hyakuri Air Base. It is the closest fighter base to Tokyo. The airport was known as Hyakuri Airfield (百里飛行場, Hyakuri Hikōjō) prior to March 2010, when civil aviation operations began.[2]

The airport is located about 85 km (53 mi) north of Tokyo, and is intended to serve as a low-cost alternative to Tokyo's larger Narita and Haneda airports. Built as a result of large public investment, the airport has been criticized as being a symbol of wasteful government spending and as being unnecessary, opening with only one flight per day.[3]

As of September 2014, a total of eight routes are operated from the airport, all by low-cost carriers.[4] One advantage of Ibaraki is its closer access to Tsukuba Science City (via roadway), where the highest concentration of technology firms exists in Japan. The airport currently has no advantage over Narita airport in public transport into Tsukuba, with both taking 1 hour.[5]

History[edit]

As a military base[edit]

The airfield was first developed by the Imperial Japanese Navy in 1937, with much of the land claimed from local farmers under the orders of Emperor Hirohito. Unlike many other Japanese military bases, it did not become a US base during the occupation. After the end of World War II, the locals reclaimed the land and resumed farming the land.

The base was reopened in 1956 by the Japan Air Self-Defense Force, which took control of the land once again. Many farmers who live around the base have refused to sell their lands to the government to enable expansion of the airfield.[6]

There should be a mention of the use of United States Air Force as a practice bombing range at least in late 1960s when a USAF EMC team made measurements there.[citation needed]

In September 1976 the MiG-25 Foxbat flown by the defecting Soviet pilot Victor Belenko to Hakodate Airport in Hokkaido was moved to Hyakuri by a US Air Force C-5 Galaxy. Despite strong Soviet protests it was extensively examined and disassembled before being returned to the Soviet Union.[7]

In February 1998 Chi Haotian, the-then Chinese defense minister, visited the base among other military sites in Japan.[8]

In 2001 aircraft from Hyakuri were involved in intercepting Tu-22 bombers of the Russian Air Force that had entered Japanese airspace.[9]

In 2005 Japan and the US agreed to move some USAF F-15 fighter drills from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa to decrease the burden on that prefecture. Drills were to be moved to five other bases around the country - Chitose in Hokkaido, Hyakuri in Ibaraki Prefecture, Komatsu in Ishikawa Prefecture, Tsuiki in Fukuoka Prefecture and Nyutabaru in Miyazaki Prefecture.[10] In 2005 USAF F-15 aircraft from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa deployed to the base as part of exercise Keen Sword 2005.[11]

In April 2006 the Omitama city assembly unanimously opposed the F-15 training taking place at Hyakuri.[12]

In May 2006 the US and Japan agreed to transfer part of the drills to the bases including Hyakuri with the US deploying to each base two or three times per year from 2007,[13][14] with Japan footing 75% of the cost.[15] US military personnel sometimes use the base for training or exchange programs.[16][17][18]

US Navy aircraft sometimes visit the base also, with F/A-18E Super Hornets of VFA-195 based at Naval Air Facility Atsugi in Kanagawa Prefecture deploying there briefly in 2016.[19]

In January 2016 the JASDF used three Kawasaki T-4 trainers to collect radioactive material after North Korean's fourth nuclear test, which North Korea claimed was a hydrogen bomb test.[20]

In October 2017 an F-4EJ Kai Phantom II of 302nd Tactical Fighter Squadron caught fire on the ground after its landing gear malfunctioned. There were no injuries.[21][22][23][24]

Hyakuri Peace Park[edit]

Peace Park entrance (2017)

The Hyakuri Peace Park is located in the air base. The main taxiway used by the air base goes around it.[6]

Air Show[edit]

Hyakuri Air Base holds an annual air show in December featuring displays of military aircraft from the base as well as other equipment. There is a display by Blue Impulse, the JASDF aerobatic team.[25][26]

As a civilian airport[edit]

Boeing 737-800 of Skymark Airlines at the airport (2017)

In March 2010, after a 22 billion yen ($243 million) local and national government investment, the airfield was renamed to Ibaraki Airport, and civil aviation operations began. At the time of opening, Ibaraki offered two flights, an Asiana service to Seoul, South Korea, and to Kobe in western Japan, by Skymark Airlines. The original plans for a three-story terminal with separate arrivals, departures, and sightseeing levels was scrapped by the governor of Ibaraki Prefecture, Masaru Hashimoto, who ordered the building to be reduced to one story in height, to reduce costs. The airport will eschew jetways, with passengers boarding planes from the tarmac. Additional cost-cutting measures, intended to allow the airport to charge lower landing fees than those at Narita and Haneda, include the use of aircraft parking procedures that reduce or eliminate the need for pushback tractors, and the possibility of having the passengers carry their own luggage to the aircraft, a practice used at some regional airports in the United States.[27]

Interest in the airport has been expressed by the Malaysian carrier AirAsia X[28][29][30] as well as Korean airline Asiana,[31] but only the latter has committed to flying out of the airport on a fixed basis.[32] TransAsia Airways has committed to flights to and from Taipei's Taoyuan Airport on a semi-regular basis from March to May. During the May holiday, charters to Guam, Cebu, Bali, and Hainan will operate out of the airport. Also, China-based low-cost carrier Spring Airlines has chosen this airport as its Tokyo-area destination with its recent approval for international flying. It planned to run three charter flights a week from Shanghai-Pudong starting from about the end of July 2010 for about two months, switching to scheduled flights at the end of this period (around the end of the World Expo).[33] However, it has started selling seats on the charters in the same manner as a normal flight since September 2010, much like the early Hongqiao-Haneda "scheduled charters" and has operated the flight as a scheduled service starting from 2011. In addition, it has now increased service to five flights a week.

As of March 2011, flights to Shanghai were operating at 80% capacity and the flights to Kobe at 50% capacity.[34] On March 11, 2011, the roof of one of the terminals came down in the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami but was quickly repaired.

A total of 860,000 people visited the airport terminal in its first year[35] with 203,070 of those being traveling passengers.[36]

ex-JASDF F-4EJs on display at Ibaraki airport (2017)

Asiana Airlines ceased operations from Incheon International Airport to Ibaraki Airport following the 2011 disaster.[37]

In August 2013, Myanmar Airways International signed a letter of intent to begin thrice-weekly direct "program charter" service between Yangon and Ibaraki by December 2013. MAI stated that they wished to avoid the overcrowding of Narita and Kansai Airport, and that Ibaraki Prefecture waged a year-long lobbying campaign which included visits to the Myanmar ambassador in Tokyo. This flight was to be the second regularly-scheduled flight between Japan and Myanmar (the first being All Nippon Airways service between Narita and Yangon).[37] However, as of 2017, the program charter service between Yangon and Ibaraki has not yet started.

Airlines and destinations[edit]

Passenger[edit]

AirlinesDestinations
Eastar Jet Seoul-Incheon
Fuji Dream Airlines Charter: Kagoshima, Nagasaki, Oki, Tanegashima, Yakushima
Skymark Airlines Fukuoka, Kobe, Naha,[38] Sapporo–Chitose
Spring Airlines Shanghai–Pudong
Tigerair Taiwan Taipei–Taoyuan
Vietnam Airlines Charter: Da Nang
VietJet Air Charter: Ho Chi Minh City

Ground transportation[edit]

Buses[edit]

Buses connect Ibaraki Airport with various train stations in Ibaraki prefecture to Tokyo station:

  • Ishioka Station on the JR Joban Line is the closest serviced station by bus.,[39] from there, journey time to Tokyo station is one hour 40 minutes to two and half hours by railway, depending on exact route.
  • One can also go points northward by bus from the airport bus connection to Mito Station (Ibaraki).[40] or to Narita Airport via Kashima Rinkai Railway from Mito.
  • Additionally, there is a shuttle bus which serves as a direct connection between Tokyo Station and the airport. The journey time is approximately 2.5 hours (1 hour 40 min. from Tokyo to Ibaraki), reservations are required, and the fee for airline passengers is 500 yen.[41]

Japan Air Self-Defense Force[edit]

F-15J Eagle of 306 Sqn at Hyakuri Airshow (2007)
F-4EJ Kai of 301 Sqn landing at Ibaraki Airport (2017)

As of 2017, all of the remaining F-4 Phantom II aircraft belonging to the JASDF operate from Hyakuri Air Base. As such it has become popular among aviation photographers and enthusiasts.[42][43][44][45][46][47][48]

Central Air Defense Force[edit]

Air Defense Command[edit]

Air Rescue Wing[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ibaraki Airport" (PDF). Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 October 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2017.
  2. ^ Cooper, Chris (2008-12-03). "Opening date". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  3. ^ Buerk, Roland (2010-03-11). "Japan opens 98th national airport in Ibaraki". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  4. ^ Airports tap budget airline benefits Archived March 25, 2012, at the Wayback Machine.
  5. ^ http://www.tsukuba.ac.jp/english/access/tsukuba_access.html
  6. ^ a b Gilionna, John M. (2009-09-10). "Farmers Wage Turf Battle With Japan Air Force". Los Angeles Times.
  7. ^ UNCLAS State Message 239736, U.S. State Department, 27 September 1976.
  8. ^ Hashimoto meets Chinese defense minister February 5, 1998 Japan Times Retrieved February 4, 2017
  9. ^ Russian military planes enter Japanese airspace February 15, 2001 Japan Times Retrieved October 2, 2017
  10. ^ Kadena F-15 drills to be transferred to five ASDF bases October 29, 2005 Japan Times Retrieved February 4, 2017
  11. ^ So long Sword US Air Force Retrieved February 4, 2017
  12. ^ Japanese city opposes moving Kadena jet training April 14, 2006 Stars and Stripes Retrieved February 4, 2017
  13. ^ SDF bases to take on U.S. F-15 drills December 29, 2006 Japan Times Retrieved February 4, 2017
  14. ^ F-15 combat drills spare Kadena March 6, 2007 Japan Times Retrieved February 4, 2017
  15. ^ Japan to foot 75% of costs to transfer U.S. drills January 12, 2007 Japan Times Retrieved February 4, 2017
  16. ^ Airmen interact with the local community at ATR Hyakuri October 6, 2009 October 6, 2009] Pacific Air Forces Retrieved February 2, 2017
  17. ^ U.S. and Japan want expanded NCO exchange Immersion on Hyakuri Air Base an eye-opener for Misawa airmen December 20, 2005 Stars and Stripes Retrieved February 4, 2017
  18. ^ Bilateral exercise aids cross-cultural exchange February 2, 2007 Stars and Stripes Retrieved February 4, 2017
  19. ^ VFA-195 Trains with Japan Air Self-Defense Force April 20, 2016 Navy.mil Retrieved February 5, 2017
  20. ^ Japan deploys planes to collect radioactive material after North Korean nuclear test January 6, 2016 Japan Times Retrieved February 4, 2017
  21. ^ "Japanese fighter jet catches fire, no one hurt". Mainichi Shimbun. October 18, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017.
  22. ^ "第302飛行隊F-4EJ改、百里基地でタキシング中に出火 搭乗者は無事". Flyteam.jp. October 18, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017. (in Japanese)
  23. ^ ["茨城・百里基地の空自戦闘機が出火=離陸直前、操縦士にけがなし". Jiji. October 18, 2017. Retrieved October 18, 2017. (in Japanese)
  24. ^ "Japanese fighter jet catches fire before takeoff from base in Ibaraki Prefecture". Japan Times. October 18, 2017. Retrieved October 19, 2017.
  25. ^ JASDF Hyakuri airshow Retrieved April 24, 2017
  26. ^ Hyakuri Flying-Wings Retrieved April 24, 2017
  27. ^ In Japan, No-Frills Airport Lures Bargain Players
  28. ^ 茨城空港:エア・アジアX、就航に意欲 県と自民県連幹部、マレーシア訪問 /茨城 - 毎日jp(毎日新聞) Archived 2012-07-12 at Archive.is (in Japanese)
  29. ^ マレーシア格安航空のエア・アジアXが日本就航 (日本経済新聞, 20 May 2008) (in Japanese)
  30. ^ 東南アジアの格安航空 日本就航へ虎視眈々 徹底合理化で好調維持 (14 June 2008) Archived 15 June 2008 at the Wayback Machine. (in Japanese)
  31. ^ "Asiana Airlines to fly Ibaraki-Incheon route". Tmcnet.com. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  32. ^ DESCENT INTO JAL BANKRUPTCY / Unpopular airports albatross around necks
  33. ^ 中国の格安航空会社、茨城空港に上海便就航表明 (7 June 2010)[dead link]
  34. ^ Kyodo News, "Ibaraki Airport fails to take off", Japan Times, 10 March 2011, p. 7.
  35. ^ http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nb20110312a5.html
  36. ^ 平成22年空港管理状況調書(PDF形式) Archived September 18, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ a b "茨城空港にミャンマー便就航へ". 日本経済新聞. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 20 August 2013.
  38. ^ "Skymark Airlines Adds Ibaraki – Okinawa Service from late-April 2016". 7 March 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  39. ^ "Access". Ibaraki Airport. 2014-04-18. Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  40. ^ "Access". Ibaraki Airport. Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  41. ^ "Ibaragi Airport Access". Ibaraki-airport.net. 2014-04-18. Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. Retrieved 2014-08-03.
  42. ^ Japan Tour 2011 Jet Wash Aviation Photos Retrieved February 1, 2017
  43. ^ Hyakuri Airshow 2012 Touchdown-Aviation Retrieved February 1, 2017
  44. ^ Phantom Heaven - Hyakuri Airbase June 2013 Jet Thrust Images Retrieved February 1, 2017
  45. ^ This Video Will Literally Bring You To The Paradise Of Phantoms! January 25, 2017 The Aviationist Retrieved February 1, 2017
  46. ^ Land of the Rising Phantoms Fence Check Retrieved February 1, 2017
  47. ^ Hyakuri Air Force Base, Japan Arizona Aviation Photographers Retrieved February 5, 2017
  48. ^ Hyakuri, Japan Frontline Aviation Retrieved February 5, 2017

External links[edit]