Four consortia bidding to operate Hokkaido’s airports

A heavyweight battle between four major consortia is shaping up in Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido, with the rights to operate seven airports over a thirty-year period on the line.

The airports include the island’s flagship New Chitose Airport, near Tomakomai, as well as six struggling local airports in Asahikawa, Hakodate, Kushiro, Memanbetsu, Obihiro, and Wakkanai.

The four consortia bidding for the airport operation rights include a range of domestic firms as well as international companies from France and Singapore. The winner is expected to be announced in about a year.

All seven airports are owned by the national or local governments.

Should an IR be licensed in Tomakomai—which is one of the strongest regional candidates—that IR operator and the consortium has chosen to operate the Hokkaido airports will clearly have to work in partnership to develop the regional tourism market.