Misawa runway closing for repair
May 10, 2003
MISAWA AIR BASE, Japan — Don’t look for space-available opportunities to exotic locales from this northern Honshu base beginning June 13. For nine days, only birds will be flying over the installation.
The base’s 10,000-foot runway will be closed for $1.3 million in repairs, reopening to air traffic June 23. It will be the runway’s third consecutive summertime closure.
“Repairs will remove and replace 1,500 feet of damaged asphalt on the runway,” said Maj. Dave Parr, director of operations for the 35th Operations Support Squadron.
Misawa’s runway is used heavily by Air Force F-16 fighters, Navy patrol aircraft, Japanese Air Self-Defense Force aircraft and a commercial Japanese air carrier. Harsh winter weather, with frequent thaw-and-freeze cycles, also takes a toll. Paar said construction is necessary to keep the airfield safe.
The closure means the sole commercial air carrier serving Misawa will operate daily flights from the Aomori airport, 45 miles northwest of Misawa.
Flights to and from Misawa from Osaka and Sapporo also will be detoured to the Aomori airport during the runway closure. Company officials said flights should be back to their regular schedules beginning June 23.
Base officials said repair-period travel arrangements have been established for departing and arriving military and Defense Department employees and their families.
Misawa still is scheduled to receive three Patriot Express flights next month: on June 5, 13 and 27. Base residents and visitors will use the Aomori airport during this time.
Air Force medical evacuations, if needed to move seriously ill patients, will fly into a Japanese military base at Hachinohe, about 15 miles south of Misawa.
From June 14 to 22, free bus service will be provided from the base’s Misawa Inn billeting center to the Aomori airport and back to the base.
Mail service to and from the base will be trucked from Aomori during the period. However, registered mail pickup and delivery will be suspended during the closure. Registered mail service resumes June 23.
— Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.