A new heliport is to be built in the Japanese city of Fukuoka to help ease pressure on the city’s Airport. As of 2017, Fukuoka Airport was not only the fourth busiest in Japan, but also the fourth busiest single-runway airport in the world – both measures based on annual passenger numbers, which exceeded 20 million in 2015. It is almost entirely surrounded by a heavily built-up area right up to its boundary on all sides.
Tentatively named “Natari Heliport”, the new facility is being built on an empty plot of land adjacent to the Gan’nosu Recreation Centre on the northern side of Fukuoka, on the road out to Shika Island. The site is (rather usefully!) adjacent to the Fukuoka VOR.
Plans include full heliport facilities with hangars, associated offices, refuelling facilities and other office buildings for associated companies. Construction is due to begin this month, for completion in November 2019.
Over 30 helicopters are currently based at Fukuoka Airport, more than half of which numerate the fleet of Nishi Nihon Kuyu (West Japan Airlift) which includes four Airbus AS350s, three Bell 427s, two Bell 412s, two Kawasaki KB117s and six EC145s. It is not clear whether the four Japan Air Self-Defence Force Chinooks, or the three helicopters of Japan Coast Guard, will also make the move.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com
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