APAC: Japanese govt to expand airport privatization program

06 June 2018 - 12:00 am UTC

Japan’s government is planning to further promote airport concessions, broadening the scope of privatizations to cover all 97 airports across Japan.

“We will study corresponding measures [to enable the proposed policy],” a senior official at the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism confirmed on Thursday (7 June).

The government’s economic advisory council to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe issued a draft plan to promote the introduction of concessions for all airports “in principle” on Tuesday (5 June), as part of its basic economic and fiscal policy for 2018.

The draft is scheduled to be approved by the Cabinet later this month.

It includes more specific details than previous plans issued by the advisory council. The government “will continue to proceed with [concessions],” said a government official.

Last year, the economic advisory council had called for strengthening of capability of airports partly through concessions.

The plan covers airports run by provincial and local governments as well as the 19 central government-controlled airports under MLIT, including Sendai and Takamatsu airports which have already started operations under concession agreements.

Japan has experienced a steady run of airport concession recently. But some expressed concerns that the pace of airport concessions will likely falter after big deals such as Fukuoka Airport in western Japan and New Chitose in Hokkaido, northern Japan.

Last month, Fukuoka Airport Holdings was selected as the preferred bidder for the 30-year concession of Japan’s fourth busiest airport. The consortium includes Singapore’s Changi Airports International and Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp along with several Fukuoka-based regional companies.

Now investors are increasingly shifting their focus to the bundled concession in Hokkaido, which includes Japan’s fifth busiest airport, New Chitose, which is expected to be the last big airport concession in Japan.    

Potential bidders are required to submit documents for the first round of screening by 16 August.

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