Monday, March 30, 2009
New Nagoya Int'l Airport, Japan
(picture from en.wikipedia.org)
March 13, 2009
In April 2004, on my Manila-Nagoya-US trip, the plane landed at the old Nagoya airport. That airport is now called Nagoya Airfield.
The New Nagoya or Chobu Centrair Intl. Airport, is new, opened for business only in February 2005. It's built from reclaimed land, it is surrounded by the sea. It is one of those typical Japanese architectures – huge, modern, very clean, high-tech, glass-and-steel structure. The escalators and walkalators for instance are very quiet and have sensors, meaning no persons riding on them, they won’t run, which saves electricity, wear and tear and maintenance cost.
From Detroit to Manila (and vice-versa) via NorthWest, now New Delta airlines, the plane stops here to do many things: unload Japan-bound passengers, get new Manila-bound passengers, refuel, unload the garbage from Detroit to Nagoya, get new set of meals and drinks for the passengers to Manila, and the Detroit-Nagoya plane crew and pilots of American-Japanese crew (ooppss, there was one Filipino crew in our flight) will be replaced by mostly, if not entirely Filipino crew.
So all passengers, including Manila-bound passengers, have to get off the plane. And go through another airport security checks – laptops out, hand-carried bags to X-ray machines, remove all coins, keys, belts, pens. At least they don’t ask passengers to remove their shoes. This process, queuing from the plane and get out of the security checks takes about 25 minutes, shorter if you get out of the plane first, longer if you get out last due to the long lines.
The Japanese airport administrators don’t believe that American and Filipino airport security officers (for planes coming from the US and the Philippines, respectively) have checked the passengers 100.0 percent. Maybe they’ve done their job only 99.99 percent, so there is still a 0.01 percent possibility that some “terrorists” might have slipped in? I think it’s weird. But then again, this is their land and their airport, they can set their own policies.
There seem to be not too many foreign passengers in this airport. The duty free shops have few people, sometimes empty. Japan is not that visitors-friendly, not only because of the language problem, but also because everything is expensive.
This is one of those few international airports that provide free internet connection, though the place is on the far side of the departure area. International departure lounges seem to have spacious tables and comfortable chairs with electric outlets, so people can put their bags and/or laptops to read or write something. There are also wifi access in all of them, but one has to buy an internet card to get internet access. If one wants free internet, he/she has to go to the lone designated area which I mentioned earlier, is on the far side of the departure area.