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Business

Orix, Itochu may bid on right to run Kobe Airport

OSAKA -- The Orix leasing group and trading house Itochu might each pursue the rights to manage Kobe Airport, whose operation is to be privatized in April 2018.

The city of Kobe plans to hold auctions in 2017 to sell the airport concession.

Interested parties, including the two Japanese companies, will attend a briefing this month or next to evaluate the terms of the deal and decide whether to make bids based on discussions with the city.

The city will likely request that management of the airport be coordinated with that of the nearby Kansai Airport and Osaka International Airport.

Real estate and railway companies have also shown interest.

Orix has operated the Kansai and Osaka airports with French concern Vinci Airports since April. The Japanese company thus expects to reap synergies in such areas as courting new flights.

Itochu apparently hopes to lure more travelers to Kobe Airport by introducing its group-brand apparel retailers there.

Opened in 2006, Kobe Airport sits on the water and is highly accessible from the city center. It serves the most travelers of all Japanese airports managed by local governments, though the tally has fallen by 200,000 from the first year to 2.53 million in fiscal 2015. Skymark Airlines is set to increase regular service from the airport to Ibaraki and Nagasaki prefectures in December.

(Nikkei)

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