Japanese hub operators chase Nepal, Indonesia contracts
TOKYO -- The operator of Japanese gateway Narita International Airport plans to acquire the management rights for an airport in Nepal, in collaboration with trading house Mitsubishi Corp. The company that runs Tokyo's Haneda Airport, meanwhile, is shooting for a contract in Indonesia.
Narita International Airport Corp., which goes by the acronym NAA, will form a syndicate with companies including Mitsubishi and Jalux -- an aviation-oriented trading house. Together, they are expected to secure a contract to manage Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal. The group aims to start a business feasibility study soon, with the assistance of the Japan International Cooperation Agency. The goal is to conclude a 20 to 30 year contract with Nepal's Civil Aviation Authority as early as 2017.
Once the Japanese airport operator acquires the management rights, it plans to invest roughly 40 billion yen ($335.42 million) to expand and renovate the Kathmandu airport -- commercial facilities in particular. The investment will likely be financed by Japan's soft loans to the Nepalese government. NAA reckons it can recoup the outlay by cultivating the business.
Nepal has a lot to offer sightseers, including access to the Himalayas. The commercial facilities within the airport, however, are neither large nor very profitable. NAA hopes to share its expertise on traveler-friendly layouts and running duty-free shops.
Meanwhile, Haneda operator Japan Airport Terminal wants to take part in managing Lombok International Airport in Indonesia, in partnership with trading house Sojitz. The airport is to be expanded, and the companies hope to strike a package deal covering project management, operation and maintenance.
At the national level, Japan sees airport management as a pillar of its public-private infrastructure export initiative. Around Asia, management of these travel hubs is increasingly being privatized. Competitors from Singapore and South Korea, however, are ahead of the game.