September 21, 2018

Three shortlisted for Hokkaido

Japanese financial services group Orix, French airport operator Groupe ADP and state-owned Development Bank of Japan (DBJ) have been shortlisted by the Japanese government for the right to operate seven airports in Hokkaido, the country’s northernmost island.

The three companies, which are members of three competing consortia, have been invited to submit final bids for a 30 year-concession.

The overall composition of the three consortia is unknown.

The identity of the winning bidder is expected to be announced in July 2019.

The bundle of airports includes Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport, Hokkaido’s major international gateway, that in 2016 handled more than 21 million passengers, as well as six smaller facilities, including three local airports now subsidised by their respective municipalities.

The subsidised airports are Obihiro, Asahikawa and Memanbetsu airports.

The other three regional airports are Hakodate, Wakkanai and Kushiro.

While the number of foreign guests visiting Hokkaido jumped from 1.5 million in 2011 to more than seven million in 2017, according to official data, the island still lags more popular tourist destinations such as Tokyo, Osaka or Kyoto.

In June, the Japanese government awarded operation of the Fukuoka Airport to a consortium that included Singapore’s Changi Airport.

The Japanese government is currently in the process of privatising Kumamoto Airport on Kyushu Island, and Hiroshima Airport, on the western part of Honshu, the country’s main island.