Fukuoka Airport

Fukuoka Airport
Fukuoka Kūkō
Itazuke Air Base
Airport type Military/Public
Operator Civil Aviation Bureau
Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism
Location Fukuoka, Fukuoka
Elevation AMSL 30 ft / 9 m
Coordinates 33°35′04″N 130°27′06″E / 33.58444°N 130.45167°E / 33.58444; 130.45167Coordinates: 33°35′04″N 130°27′06″E / 33.58444°N 130.45167°E / 33.58444; 130.45167

Location in Japan

Direction Length Surface
m ft
16/34 2,800 9,186 Asphalt/Concrete
Statistics (2014)
International Passengers 5.137.835
Domestic Passengers 14,866,485
Total Passengers 20,004,320
Source: Japanese AIP at AIS Japan[1]

Fukuoka Airport (福岡空港 Fukuoka Kūkō) (IATA: FUK, ICAO: RJFF), formerly known as Itazuke Air Base, is an international and domestic airport located 1.6 NM (3.0 km; 1.8 mi) east of Hakata Station[1] in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Japan.

Fukuoka Airport is the principal airport on the island of Kyushu and is the fourth busiest passenger airport in Japan.[2] It is also the third busiest single-runway airport in the world by passenger traffic (after London-Gatwick and İstanbul-Sabiha Gökçen).[3] The airport is surrounded by residential areas; flights stop at 10 p.m. at the request of local residents and resume operation at 7 a.m. The domestic terminal is connected to the city by the Fukuoka City Subway, and a subway from the airport to the business district takes less than ten minutes. The international terminal is only accessible by road, although there is scheduled bus service to Hakata Station and the Tenjin area.[4] Alternatives to access the Fukuoka area include Saga Airport and Kitakyushu Airport.

Airlines and destinations


Fukuoka Airport Terminal 2 at night
International Terminal Departure Floor
Aircraft of Japan Airlines and All Nippon Airways at Gates 1-6 at Terminal 3
Air Busan Busan, Daegu[5] International
Air China Beijing-Capital, Dalian, Shanghai-Pudong International
Air Do Sapporo-Chitose 2
Air Macau Macau International
Amakusa Airlines Amakusa 1
All Nippon Airways Nagoya-Centrair, Naha, Osaka-Itami, Osaka-Kansai, Sapporo-Chitose, Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita
Seasonal: Ishigaki
All Nippon Airways
operated by ANA Wings
Fukue, Hiroshima, Komatsu, Miyazaki, Nagoya-Centrair, Naha, Niigata, Okayama, Sendai, Tokushima, Tsushima 1
Asiana Airlines Jeju, Seoul-Incheon International
Cathay Dragon Hong Kong International
Cathay Pacific Hong Kong, Taipei-Taoyuan International
Cebu Pacific Manila International
China Airlines Taipei-Taoyuan International
China Eastern Airlines Chengdu, Nanjing, Qingdao, Shanghai-Pudong International
China Southern Airlines Seasonal:Dalian,[6] Guangzhou, Shanghai-Pudong[7] International
Delta Air Lines Honolulu International
Eastar Jet Seoul-Incheon[8] International
EVA Air Kaohsiung,[9] Taipei-Taoyuan International
Finnair Seasonal: Helsinki[10][11] International
Fuji Dream Airlines Hanamaki, Kōchi, Matsumoto, Nagoya-Komaki, Niigata, Shizuoka, Tokushima 1
HK Express Hong Kong International
Ibex Airlines Komatsu, Osaka-Itami, Sendai
Seasonal: Tanegashima
1, 2
Japan Airlines Osaka-Itami, Sapporo-Chitose, Tokyo-Haneda, Tokyo-Narita 2
Japan Airlines
operated by J-Air
Amami Ōshima, Hakodate, Kagoshima, Kōchi, Nagoya-Centrair, Naha, Osaka-Itami, Sendai, Tokushima 1
Japan Airlines
operated by Japan Air Commuter
Amami Ōshima, Izumo, Kagoshima, Matsuyama, Miyazaki, Yakushima 1
Japan Airlines
operated by Japan Transocean Air
Naha 2
Jeju Air Busan, Seoul-Incheon International
Jetstar Japan Nagoya-Centrair, Osaka-Kansai, Tokyo-Narita 1
Jin Air Seoul-Incheon[12] International
Korean Air Busan, Seoul-Incheon International
Oriental Air Bridge Fukue 1
Peach Naha, Osaka-Kansai, Tokyo-Narita[13] 1
Philippine Airlines Manila International
Skymark Airlines Ibaraki, Naha, Sapporo-Chitose, Sendai, Tokyo-Haneda 2
Singapore Airlines Singapore International
StarFlyer Nagoya-Centrair, Tokyo-Haneda 2
T'way Airlines Daegu,[14] Seoul-Incheon International
Thai Airways Bangkok-Suvarnabhumi International
Tigerair Taiwan Taipei-Taoyuan[15] International
United Airlines Guam International
Vietnam Airlines Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City International


The airport was built in 1944 by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force as Mushiroda Airfield.[16] After the war, the United States Air Force used the airfield as Itazuke Air Base from 1945 to 1972.[16] Itazuke actually comprised three installations: Itazuke AB, Itazuke (Kasuga) Administration Annex and Brady Air Base (Camp Brady). Itazuke and the Kasuga Annex were on the mainland while Brady was in Saitozaki; on the peninsula (Umi no Nakamichi) that forms Hakata Bay. Part of the confusion with the names stem from the days when the annex and Brady AB were Army installations before the USAF took command in 1956.

At its height, Itazuke AB was the largest USAF base on Kyūshū, but was closed in 1972 due to budget reductions and the overall reduction of United States military forces in Japan.

Japanese military base

Mushiroda was built on farmland that once grew bumper rice crops during 1943. The base was first used by trainer aircraft. The airfield soon proved unserviceable for the fledgling flyers because of the high water level of the former rice lands. Frequent rain showers flooded the runway making it unsafe for the novice aviators.

The Japanese Air Force's 6th Fighter Wing replaced the trainers and Mushiroda became an air defense base. The 6th Wing had 30 single engine fighters and several reconnaissance aircraft to patrol the Okinawa-Kyūshū aerial invasion corridor. In April 1945 the Tachiarai Airfield at Kurume was destroyed by American B-29's. Tachiarai's bomber aircraft were moved to Mushiroda and the base became very active until late in the war when B-29's attacked the airfield and destroyed most of the Imperial Japanese forces stationed here.

Postwar era

The first American units moved into the facility in November 1945, when the 38th Bombardment Group stationed B-25 Mitchells on the airfield. Moving to Itazuke from Yontan Airfield, Okinawa, the mission of the 38th Bomb Group was to fly daily surveillance missions to monitor shipping traffic between Kyūshū and Korea in order to intradict smuggling of illegal Korean immigrants and goods. Along with the 38th, the 8th Fighter Group was assigned to the airfield on 1 April 1946 which performed occupation duties until April 1947. Due to the massive destruction of the facility during the War, the only available buildings to house personnel was the Kyūshū Airplane Company's complex in Zasshonokuma. Designated Base Two, the former aircraft company was converted to barracks, dining halls, a post exchange, and BOQ. Additional facilities and billets were housed in a tent city at the airfield.

The 38th Bomb Group remained at Itazuke until October 1946 also during with time several reconstruction units worked on the former IJAAF base rebuilding and constructing new facilities. Headquarters, 315th Bombardment Wing moved into the base during May 1946, spending most of the postwar occupation years at the new American Air Force base.

When the 38th Bomb Group moved to Itami Airfield, it was replaced by the P-61 Black Widow-equipped 347th Fighter Group that moved from Nagoya Airfield. The 347th's mission was to provide air defense of Japanese airspace with the long range former night fighter. the 347th Fighter Wing, All Weather, was established at Itazuke in August 1948 when the unit was reformed under the new United States Air Force "Base-Wing" reorganization. The 347th moved to Bofu Air Base in October. It was replaced by the 475th Fighter Wing which brought with it the new F-82 Twin Mustangs, replacing the wartime Black Widows for air defense missions. Once up to full strength, it was moved to Ashiya Airfield in March 1949.

By early 1949, reconstruction of Itazuke was complete along the construction of long jet runways. The 8th Fighter Wing moved in during March with the F-80C Shooting Star jet, which provided air interceptor defense of Japan.

Korean War

The flightline at Itazuke Air Base, Japan, 1950. The F-82 in the foreground belongs to the 69th All Weather Fighter Squadron, and the F-80s are assigned to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group

Itazuke played a key role in the Korean War and the defense of the Pusan perimeter in 1950.

On June 25, 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, starting a war that would last three years. Being the closest USAF base to the Korean Peninsula, the 8th Fighter Wing at Itazuke initially provided air cover for the evacuation of Americans from Korea on June 26, the day after the invasion. In these early operations, Itazuke Air Base supported F-80C Shooting Star jet fighters of the 8th Fighter Wing, along with propeller driven aircraft such as the F-82C Twin Mustangs of the 68th Fighter Squadron, All Weather, and P-51D Mustangs which were shipped from the United States for ground support missions in South Korea. The first aerial victory of the Korean War went to 1Lt William G. Hudson, of the 68th Fighter Squadron, All Weather in an F-82.

During the Korean War, Itazuke was a major combat airfield for the USAF. The 8th Fighter Wing moved to a forward base in South Korea in late Fall of 1950. With the move the support element that remained at Itazuke was redesignated the 6160th Air Base Wing. The USAF moved several of its combat units to the base for operations over Korea, these being the 49th Fighter Group, the 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing; the 51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing; the 452d Bombardment Wing; the 27th Fighter-Escort Wing and the Texas Air National Guard 136th Fighter Group. A wide variety of aircraft operated from the airfield from twin-engined B-26 Invader tactical bombers, F-80 Shooting Stars, F-84 Thunderjets, F-82 Twin Mustangs and F-94 Starfire jet interceptors.

Cold War

After the 1953 Armistice in Korea, the wartime combat units were slowly withdrawn back to the United States or reassigned to other airfields in Japan and South Korea. The base settled down to another era of peace to become the key base in the defense of Western Japan. The 8th Fighter Wing returned to Itazuke from its forward airfield at Suwon AB (K-13), South Korea in October 1954, being the host unit at the base for the next ten years.

During the 1950s, the 8th flew the F-86 Sabre for air defense of Japan and South Korea, being upgraded to the new F-100 Super Sabre in 1956. In 1961 the wing received Air Defense Command F-102 Delta Daggers, specifically designed for the air defense mission.

The 8th was reassigned back to the United States in July 1964 to George AFB, California where it was equipped with the new F-4C Phantom II and eventually became a major USAF combat wing in Thailand during the Vietnam War. With the departure of the 8th TFW, the 348th Combat Support Group became the host unit at Itazuke, with the Pacific Air Forces 41st Air Division becoming the operational USAF unit at the base. During the 1960s and numerous rotational units from the United States deployed to the base. The F-105 Thunderchief-equipped 35th Tactical Fighter Squadron was the major flying organization until 1968, when it was moved to Thailand for combat operations over North Vietnam during the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War, a detachment of the 552d Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing which operated C-121 Constellation AWACS aircraft operated from Itazuke, but the stable situation in South Korea led to the gradual phase down of the base and personnel were withdrawn for other duties.

In 1970 it was announced that Itazuke would be returned to Japanese control,[16] and the USAF facilities were closed on 31 March 1972.

Civilian usage

Airport diagram

Fukuoka's first civilian air service was Japan Airlines' Fukuoka-Osaka-Tokyo service, which commenced in 1951. JAL introduced jet service on the Fukuoka-Tokyo route in 1961. The airport's first international service was to nearby Busan, South Korea, beginning in 1965.[16] Air Siam and Air France both began long-haul service to Fukuoka in 1975, but withdrew within two years.

In the mid-1990s, Delta Air Lines operated a non-stop flight between Fukuoka and its transpacific hub in Portland, Oregon, but later dropped the route due to financial pressure. Japan Airlines operated flights from Fukuoka to Hawaii until withdrawing in 2005. Delta launched service to Honolulu in 2011, which was successful beyond expectations, particularly due to the opening of the Kyushu Shinkansen which made it a convenient resort route offering for passengers from throughout Kyushu. This led to an increase of Delta's frequencies in 2012, as well as Hawaiian Airlines offering a daily Fukuoka-Honolulu service.[17]


Although Fukuoka is known as one of the most convenient airports in Japan, it is constrained both by its inner-city location and by its single runway.[18] Operations at the airport began to exceed its capacity of 145,000 annual flights in 2012, the year in which several new low-cost carriers began operation.[19] The Japan Civil Aviation Bureau has announced that Fukuoka will be designated as a "congested airport" (IATA Level 3) from late March 2016, meaning that the airport will be subject to slot restrictions and operators will have to receive 5-year permits from JCAB in order to operate at FUK.[20]

With Fukuoka's ambitions to become a hub for business and travel in East Asia, moving the airport further inland or to an offshore artificial island to accommodate increased traffic has been considered. However, the idea of a new airport in the sea off Shingu has been opposed by environmentalists. The Gan-no-su coastal area has also been mooted, and it was the site of an airfield in the 1940s, but similar environmental concerns exist there. There is some debate as to whether a new airport is really needed, given the cost, the environmental problems, and the available capacity at nearby New Kitakyushu Airport and Saga Airport.

As of July 2013, the Japanese government is considering building a second 2,800 m parallel runway within the existing airfield at a cost of 180 billion yen, two-thirds of which would be borne by the national government and the remaining third of which would be borne by the local government, but which would be defrayed by selling the rights to operate the airport to a private company.[18] The airport also plans to build a second parallel taxiway on the domestic side by fiscal year 2019 in order to free up traffic jams that currently occur due to overcrowding on the ground.[21]

Accidents and incidents

Nearby major airports

KKJ (61 km (38 mi))
HSG (77 km (48 mi))
KMJ (91 km (57 mi))
OIT (119 km (74 mi))
UBJ (85 km (53 mi))
NGS (85 km (53 mi))
IKI (89 km (55 mi))
TSJ (120 km (75 mi))


 This article incorporates public domain material from the Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.

  1. 1 2 AIS Japan
  2. "Fukuoka Airport Statistics". Japan Schedule Coordination (JSC), Japan Aeronautic Association(JAA). Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  3. "World´s busiest single-runway commercial airports". Panethos (WordPress). 2 September 2015. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  4. "福岡空港国際線の交通アクセス 海外航空会社の7割「不満". Nikkei Inc. 12 September 2013. Retrieved 11 March 2014.
  5. http://www.routesonline.com/news/38/airlineroute/267420/air-busan-adds-new-routes-from-daegu-in-16q3/
  6. http://airlineroute.net/2015/09/28/cz-dlcfuk-w15/
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  10. "Finnair Adds Guangzhou / Fukuoka Service from May 2016". Airlineroute.net. 7 October 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2015.
  11. http://www.finnair.com/int/gb/destinations/asia-pacific/japan/fukuoka
  12. "Jin Air Adds Kota Kinabalu/Fukuoka Operation from late-Dec 2014". Airline Route. 26 September 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
  13. "The first step to creating a hub at Narita Airport" (PDF). Peach Aviation. 10 February 2015. Retrieved 15 February 2015.
  14. "T'Way Adds New Daegu – Japan Routes from Sep 2016". routesonline. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  15. http://airlineroute.net/2015/12/16/it-fukngo-jan16/
  16. 1 2 3 4 http://www.fuk-ab.co.jp/english/sp/cont.php?page=gaiyou
  17. "米デルタ、福岡―ホノルル線を大幅増便". 日本経済新聞. 17 April 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  18. 1 2 "滑走路、国費ゼロで増設 国交省まず福岡空港検討". 日本経済新聞. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  19. "福岡空港発着15万回超 24年過去最高 容量オーバー 滑走路増設課題に". 産経新聞. 1 February 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  20. Yoshikawa, Tadayuki (4 September 2015). "福岡空港、混雑空港指定へ 発着回数制限". Aviation Wire. Retrieved 8 September 2015.
  21. "福岡空港国内線誘導路、19年度めど複線 再整備に100億円". 日本経済新聞. 4 August 2012. Retrieved 19 July 2013.
  22. ja:中国民航機ハイジャック事件
  23. ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 PK-GIE Fukuoka Airport (FUK)
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