APAC: Changi joins battle for Hokkaido airports concession

21 August 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

Singapore’s Changi Airports International has made a bid for seven airports on Hokkaido island – one of four bid groups to join the battle for the 30-year concession, according to two sources.   

Investors are closely watching the contest to operate a bundle of seven airports in Hokkaido in northern Japan, which includes the nation’s fifth busiest airport, New Chitose.

“I have heard Changi has joined the fray,” said one source. But the source said it is not clear about specific names of partners with Changi in the consortium. A Changi spokesperson declined to comment, saying that “we do not comment on market activities.”

Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) accepted first rounds bids from four consortia last week (16 August), said a MLIT official without giving any further details.  

A second group of bidders is led by regional entity Hokkaido Airport Terminal (HKK), which has joined hands with big names from Tokyo such as the Development Bank of Japan, Mitsubishi Estate and railway operator Tokyu Corp.

A third consortium includes Vinci Airports together with Japanese leasing giant Orix, a combination that has partnered to win the tender for Japan’s first large airport privatization of Kansai International Airport (KIX) and Osaka International Airport in 2015.

A fourth group includes ADP International, which has teamed up with regional resort operator Kamori Kanko and Tokyo-based railway operator Tobu Railway.

These four bidders are slated to be shortlisted to three in September. The preferred bidder will be selected around July 2019.

With Changi joining the bidding, investors expect yet another fierce battle in Hokkaido, which is rich in tourist attractions, including a ski resort.

Due to its prime location close to the downtown and its potential to grow as a hub airport in Asia, the tender for Japan’s fourth busiest Fukuoka Airport in western Japan lured investor interests, bringing the total amount of the concession fee to JPY 446bn (USD 4.0bn), much higher than JPY 161bn initially estimated.         

Changi is also a member of a regional consortium which won the right to operate Fukuoka Airport. The consortium also includes Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp., Kyushu Electric Power and Nishi-Nippon Railroad, which signed a formal accord 1 August to operate Fukuoka Airport from April 2019 under a 30-year concession arrangement.