Thursday, March 13, 2014

A look at Naha's new International Terminal.

Naha Airport (OKA/ROAH) in Okinawa has been operating its new International Terminal since February 18th. China Airlines' (CI/CAL) flight CI120 from Taipei/Taoyuan (TPE/RCTP) was the first to use the new facility. The four-story structure filled with Ryukyu-style architecture is equipped with four jet-bridges and has 3.6 times more floor space than the small one-story 1986-vintage International Terminal it replaced. The predecessor also lacked jet-bridges.
Ryukyu-style architecture is seen throughout the terminal, including the check-in counters. (Photo: Aviation Wire)

Along with Hong Kong (HKG/VHHH), which was then Kai Tak Airport, Naha was formerly an important transiting hub for relatives traveling between the People's Republic of China ('Mainland' China) and the Republic of China (Taiwan), as direct flights had been prohibited. Naha proved to be popular especially for passengers to and from Shanghai. But ever since non-stop 'cross-strait charters' across Taiwan Strait started to expand from 2006 onwards and became scheduled flights in 2009, Naha's role as a transfer point has been diminishing, if not finished. Now it is attracting its own in-bound tourists from abroad and is expected to record 900,000 international passengers for fiscal year 2013 ending in March, a significant increase from 600,000 for fiscal year 2012.

Naha is currently served by 10 international airlines from seven destinations; Air China (CA/CCA) from Beijing/Capital (PEK/ZBAA), Asiana Airlines (OZ/AAR) from Busan/Gimhae (PUS/RKPK), Dragonair (KA/HDA) and Hong Kong Airlines (HX/CRK) from Hong Kong, Jin Air (LJ/JNA) from Seoul/Incheon (ICN/RKSI), China Eastern Airlines (MU/CES) and Juneyao Airlines (HO/DKH) from Shanghai/Pudong (PVG/ZSPD), Mandarin Airlines (AE/MDA) from Taichung (RMQ/RCMQ), and China Airlines and TransAsia Airways (GE/TNA) from Taoyuan. Okinawa prefecture is targeting 10 million annual tourists, including both domestic and international, by fiscal year 2021.

Source: Aviation Wire, February 10th. (in Japanese)

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