Airport Construction: The Japanese Way

by Richard de Neufville, (M.ASCE), Prof.; Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Civil Engineering, Cambridge, MA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1991, Vol. 61, Issue 12, Pg. 71-73

Document Type: Feature article


Japan is spending tens of billions of dollars on airport projects domestically and abroad through their aid programs. Examples of construction at the New Osaka Airport (Kansai), Narita/Tokyo, and Haneda/Tokyo airports are described. The Kansai project involves constructing an island for the terminals and runway. There are major problems, including cost overruns of 50% on a project that is budgeted to cost $12 billion. Other problems are also described and observations made as to whether the Japanese could benefit from the U.S. system approach to airport planning. Their design process involves a long series of independent decisions, taken in narrow technical contexts with little opportunity for integrating these elements. In fact, their approach does not take the needs of users into account, in contrast to U.S. practice. One problem is deep-seated Japanese aversion to confrontation. There is also little negotiation between stakeholders in the political structure. Projects are less cost-effective.

Subject Headings: Airports and airfields | Construction management | Construction costs | Islands | Airport and airfield pavements | Budgets | Negotiation | Political factors | Japan | Asia

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