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The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLITT) of the Government of Japan has launched a tender for the operation of seven airports under a 30-year concession contract, setting the minimum bid price at JPY72 billion (US$656.9 million).
The airports included in the tender are the following: Obihiro Airport, Asahikawa Airport, Hakodate Airport, Wakkanai Hokkaido Airport, Kushiro Airport, Memanbetsu Airport and Sapporo Chitose Airport. All are located on Hokkaido island, the northernmost of Japan’s main islands and an important industrial and tourist destination.
The concessionaire will be responsible for operation of the runways, terminal buildings and car parking facilities of the airports. As well improved operations, MLITT intends for the concession to promote tourism.
The tender will be conducted in two stages. The initial deadline to submit tender documents is 16 August 2018. MLITT will review submissions, release the results of this "first round review" in September, then invite approved bidders to participate in the second round, for which the submission deadline will be in May 2019.
MLITT plans to select the priority negotiation rights holder in July 2019, and have the contract finalised by 15 January 2020. The Ministry foresees the successful bidder taking over operations of Sapporo Chitose Airport in June 2020, followed by Asahikawa Airport in October 2020 and the remaining airports in March 2021.
Sapporo Chitose Airport is the main international gateway to Hokkaido. The airport is the third busiest in the country, behind Tokyo's two airports. It is served by major airlines from across East Asia.
The only other airport with an international destination in the tender bundle is Hakodate, which serves Taiwan.