Kobe Airport opens, but far more wackiness might be in store

Kobe Airport, the third passenger airport in the Kansai region, opened just a couple of hours ago. So what’s next? How about a tunnel from Kobe to Kansai?

The “Cross-Osaka Bay Railroad” is envisioned to connect JR Shin-Kobe Station and Kansai Airport via Kobe Airport in 30 minutes, using linear motor cars over the total distance of 36 km. The Kobe Airport-Kansai Airport run will take only 17 min. The cost of the tunnel is expected to be 530 billion yen.

Apparently, this was one of those crazy bubble-era ideas that fell apart after the Kobe earthquake of 1995 and the stagnant traffic numbers at Kansai in the late 90’s. But now, authorities are saying that if traffic at Kansai picks up, the airport may have to go international-only, and this project might be needed to keep a steady flow of passengers between domestic and international flights. Hyogo Prefecture seems to be warming to the idea, but Kobe City and Kansai Airport (perhaps fortunately) think it’s pretty ridiculous.

3 thoughts on “Kobe Airport opens, but far more wackiness might be in store”

  1. Ugg, what a stupid idea! From a practical point of view, Kobe Airport is pretty tiny (can it take 747s?) with just half a dozen gates and barely 20 check-in desks, so I don’t think it can really handle much traffic at all, so perhaps they ought to extend the tunnel to Itami to get people there too?

    If I were to naturalise, I think I’d stand for the Beat Takeshi party, with a single policy of pledging to repeatedly whack any elected official over the head with a rubber hammer whenever they come out with a pork barrel white elephant scheme.

  2. I’m not sure whether Kobe can take 747’s. I can tell you, though, that JAL and ANA are voluntarily switching to smaller aircraft on domestic routes nowadays because there are so many landing slots available, what with the opening of Kobe, expansion of Kansai and expansion of Haneda. There are also plans to ban 747’s from Itami later this year.

  3. What an awful idea. The prospect of KIX becoming international-only seems to be a self-fulfilling prophecy (ie. if it offers some spurious justification for this huge construction boondoggle, it’s gonna happen), and judging from the Y1,800 fee they charge for the 3-minute bridge ride to Kansai airport to make up for the vast construction costs, we should be pretty wary of the consequences for anyone using the tunnel.

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