Ibaraki Airport (茨城空港 Ibaraki Kūkō) 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.
Hyakuri Airfield · Ibaraki Airport
Hyakuri Air Base
Hyakuri Hikōjō · Hyakuri kichi
|Location||Omitama, Ibaraki, Japan|
|Elevation AMSL||107 ft / 33 m|
Source: Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
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.
As of September 2014, a total of eight routes are operated from the airport, all by low-cost carriers. 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.
As a military baseEdit
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.
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.
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. In 2005 USAF F-15 aircraft from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa deployed to the base as part of exercise Keen Sword 2005.
In April 2006 the Omitama city assembly unanimously opposed the F-15 training taking place at Hyakuri.
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, with Japan footing 75% of the cost. US military personnel sometimes use the base for training or exchange programs.
Hyakuri Peace ParkEdit
The Hyakuri Peace Park is located in the air base. The main taxiway used by the air base goes around it.
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.
As a civilian airportEdit
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.
Interest in the airport has been expressed by the Malaysian carrier AirAsia X as well as Korean airline Asiana, but only the latter has committed to flying out of the airport on a fixed basis. 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). 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. On March 11, 2011, the roof of one of the terminals came down in the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami but was quickly repaired.
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). However, as of 2017, the program charter service between Yangon and Ibaraki has not yet started.
Airlines and destinationsEdit
|Bamboo Airways||Charter: Da Nang, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City|
|Fuji Dream Airlines||Charter: Hanamaki, Hiroshima, Komaki, Matsuyama, Memanbetsu, Nakashibetsu, Obihiro, Oki, Rebun, Wakkanai|
|Skymark Airlines||Fukuoka, Kobe, Naha, Sapporo–Chitose|
Buses connect Ibaraki Airport with various train stations in Ibaraki prefecture to Tokyo station:
- Ishioka Station on the JR Jōban Line is the closest serviced station by bus., 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). or to Narita Airport via Kashima Rinkai Railway from Mito.
- Additionally, there is a shuttle bus (operated by Kantō Railway) 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.
Japan Air Self-Defense ForceEdit
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.
Central Air Defense ForceEdit
- 7th Air Wing
Air Defense CommandEdit
Air Rescue WingEdit
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ibaraki Airport.|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Hyakuri Air Base.|
- Official website
- 百里飛行場民間共用化 (Omitama City) (in Japanese)
- いばらきの空港・百里飛行場／茨城県企画部空港対策室 (Ibaraki Prefecture) (in Japanese)
- 関東地方整備局予算の概要 (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport) (in Japanese)
- 国土交通省関東地方整備局港湾空港部 (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport) (in Japanese)
- Current weather for RJAH at NOAA/NWS
- (in Japanese), Japan Air Self-Defense Force