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To Be Named Centrair
An artificial island is emerging from the waters of Ise Bay, near the geographical center of the country. It will soon be home to the Central Japan International Airport, featuring a runway 3,500 meters long. It will stand shoulder to shoulder as a gateway to Japan with New Tokyo International Airport in Chiba Prefecture to the east and Kansai International Airport in Osaka Prefecture to the west. This valuable new facility will serve Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture, and the rest of central Japan. It will also be used by many of the visitors to EXPO 2005 AICHI.
The airport is being built about one kilometer offshore from the city of Tokoname. Work has been progressing smoothly since August 2000 with the construction of the shores of the artificial island on which the airport will stand. Thanks to the hard work of all involved, combined with favorable weather conditions, nearly all of the sea wall surrounding the area to be filled in was completed in roughly six months. So the contour of the island can now be seen fairly clearly. With a circumference of seven kilometers today (eight kilometers on completion), the island is fast becoming a prominent feature in the bay.
"The initial phase of the sea-wall construction was completed last March 15, so the job of reclamation has already begun in earnest. At a rate of almost a hectare a day, approximately 70 hectares had been filled in by the end of June," says Takashi Matsui, general manager of the Project Planning Division at Central Japan International Airport Co., Ltd. "Priority is being given to the area where the passenger terminal will stand. We're aiming to commence construction on the terminal building early in 2002," he says. To shorten the time required to get the airport up and running, Matsui explains, the company has decided to proceed simultaneously with the construction of the sea wall, the filling in of the artificial island, and the building of the terminal facilities. So construction of the facilities will start as soon as there is land under them to build on. With the planned opening of the new airport set for March 2005, a number of key themes underlie the approach adopted. These are: care for the environment, the pursuit of convenience, the pursuit of economy, the provision of attractive services, and contributing to the building of an affluent community. The first of these, care for the environment, is reflected throughout the design and implementation of the entire project.
To avoid disruption to the flow of water around Ise Bay, for example, the landward side of the island will be gently curved. The positioning of the runway and flight routes have also been meticulously calculated to minimize the impact of noise on nearby residents. As the airport is being built in a marine environment, the designers have paid close attention to the effects on the local marine life and ecology. Natural rock is being used to form gently sloping shores and provide a reef-like habitat for the growth of seaweed around the island. This will make it easier for other marine life to coexist with the new airport.
The establishment of an environmental monitoring system has ensured that the impact on the environment is being watched throughout construction and that the data collected is being disclosed. Similarly detailed monitoring of the airport's environmental impact will continue after it is fully up and running.
This devotion to environmental concerns was recognized on December 27, 2000, when the International Standards Organization granted it ISO 14001 accreditation. It was the first time in Japan that a company engaged in the construction of an airport and all its facilities and their subsequent management had been awarded this mark, confirming that its operations are in line with the international standards governing environmental management systems.
"Our company's aim is to establish and operate this airport in an environment-friendly manner. Recognizing our social responsibility for looking after the environment, we sought ISO 14001 accreditation so we could manage the airport in a way reconciling environmental conservation with economic viability," reports Kiyohiko Hayashi, general manager of the Coordinating Division of the airport company's Environment Department. "This goes for Central Japan International Airport, but the Aichi Expo to be held in 2005 also has the environment as one of its core themes. In this light, the environment is an extremely important theme for the whole of Aichi Prefecture," he adds.
With construction of Central Japan International Airport progressing smoothly, the airport company has already decided on a nickname that it hopes will catch on with travelers and other airport users. Picking from 9,200 suggestions sent in from all over Japan and around the world, it chose Centrair, formed from "central" and "air," as the airport's designation. The name conveys clearly and simply the fact that this is an airport located in central Japan. It also has the advantage of being easy to remember and expresses the company's ambitions for the airport to perform a central role in air travel to and from Japan. Central Japan International Airport is the first in the country to seek a nickname for itself. Hopefully it will not be long before people all over the globe regard Centrair as a name to remember.
(Harunori Shimizu; Photos by Tomohiro Muda,