Sapporo Airport Opens New FBO
Sapporo’s New Chitose Airport has opened a new FBO in partnership with Universal Aviation. Officially named the Hokkaido Business Aviation Centre (HBAC) it is the first FBO in Northern Japan’s Hokkaido region.
Although an opening ceremony for the FBO was held on December 9th, the new facility was officially opened a day earlier on December 8th, when an Airbus ACJ arrived from the Philippines.
The airport says that it has opened the new FBO in response to an increase in the number of business aircraft visiting the airport, which regularly tops 400 movements per year. This is largely seasonal, with many of the movements taking place during the winter months, which is a time that the Hokkaido region is known for snow.
Nestled towards the end of the international terminal, the FBO was designed from the ground up to create a feeling of calm and space and has a logical flow for passengers passing through the facility. The FBO does have its own CIQ (Customs, Immigration, Quarantine) on site, although it’s staff is shared with the neighbouring international terminal. The FBO, which is open daily from 08:00 to 20:00 local also features a pilots lounge and dedicated lounge spaces for passengers.
The opening of the FBO is the culmination of four years of hard work by the Hokkaido Airport Authority, during which time it not only tendered for the management of the FBO but also made visits to various FBOs around the world during the planning process, with Hokkaido Airports Managing Executive Officer Takayuki Yamamoto adding that when the tender process to run the airport was won, the company already had plans to build the FBO.
“Before COVID-19, we had around 400 business aircraft flights. But unfortunately, during that time business aircraft passengers had to queue in the international terminal with all of the other passengers, so it took some time to pass through CIQ,” says Yamamoto. “So that’s why we decided to build a new facility, to help decrease the amount of time that it took for business aircraft passengers to pass through the airport.”
Although the official opening hours of the FBO are 08:00 to 20:00, Universal Aviation’s Hiroshi Higashiyama says that the aircraft can be accommodated earlier or later, with some exceptions, as long as prior notice is given. “The airport is open 24/7, so if we get advance notice then CIQ (Customs, Immigration, Quarantine) can be available, even at nighttime,” says Higashiyama. “But this option is only for people arriving to stay in Hokkaido, tech stops are not allowed from 22:00 to 07:00 the next morning.”