Airport (福岡空港, Fukuoka Kūkō) (IATA: FUK, ICAO:
RJFF), formerly known as Itazuke Air Base, is an international and
domestic airport located 1.6 NM (3.0 km; 1.8 mi) east
of Hakata Station in Hakata-ku, Fukuoka, Japan.
Airport is the principal airport on the island of
is the fourth busiest passenger airport in Japan. As of 2017, the
airport is the fourth busiest single-runway airport in the world by
passenger traffic (after Mumbai, London–Gatwick and İstanbul-Sabiha
Gökçen). The airport is surrounded by residential areas; flights
stop at 10 p.m. at the request of local residents and resume operation
at 7 a.m. The domestic terminal is connected to the city by the
Fukuoka City Subway, and a subway from the airport to the business
district takes less than ten minutes. The international terminal is
only accessible by road, although there is scheduled bus service to
Hakata Station and the Tenjin area. Alternatives to access the
Fukuoka area include Saga
Airport and Kitakyushu Airport.
1 Airlines and destinations
2.1 Japanese military base
2.2 Postwar era
2.3 Korean War
2.4 Cold War
2.5 Civilian usage
2.7 Accidents and incidents
3 Current Japan Self-Defense Force Units
4 Nearby major airports
6 External links
Airlines and destinations
Fukuoka airport passenger destinations
Airport Terminal 2 at night
International Terminal Departure Floor
Japan Airlines and
All Nippon Airways
All Nippon Airways at Gates 1-6 at
Thai Airways Boeing 787-8 at Fukuoka Airport
Beijing–Capital, Dalian, Shanghai–Pudong
All Nippon Airways
Nagoya–Centrair, Naha, Osaka–Itami, Ishigaki, Osaka–Kansai,
Sapporo–Chitose, Tokyo–Haneda, Tokyo–Narita
All Nippon Airways
operated by ANA Wings
Fukue, Komatsu, Miyazaki, Nagoya–Centrair, Naha, Niigata, Sendai,
China Eastern Airlines
Beijing–Capital, Qingdao, Shanghai–Pudong
Seasonal: Chengdu, Nanjing
China Southern Airlines
Seasonal: Dalian, Guangzhou, Shanghai–Pudong
China United Airlines
Delta Air Lines
Fuji Dream Airlines
Matsumoto, Nagoya–Komaki, Niigata, Shizuoka
Komatsu, Nagoya–Centrair, Osaka–Itami, Sendai
Osaka–Itami, Sapporo–Chitose, Tokyo–Haneda, Tokyo–Narita
operated by J-Air
Amami Ōshima, Hanamaki, Kōchi, Matsuyama, Miyazaki, Osaka–Itami,
operated by Japan Air Commuter
Izumo, Kagoshima, Yakushima
operated by Japan Transocean Air
Nagoya–Centrair, Osaka–Kansai, Tokyo–Narita
Oriental Air Bridge
Naha, Osaka–Kansai, Sapporo-Chitose, Tokyo–Narita
Ibaraki, Naha, Sapporo–Chitose, Tokyo–Haneda
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City
The airport was built in 1944 by the Imperial Japanese Army Air Force
as Mushiroda Airfield. After the war, the United States Air Force
used the airfield as Itazuke Air Base from 1945 to 1972. Itazuke
actually comprised three installations: Itazuke AB, Itazuke (Kasuga)
Administration Annex and Brady Air Base (Camp Brady). Itazuke and the
Kasuga Annex were on the mainland while Brady was in Saitozaki; on the
peninsula (Umi no Nakamichi) that forms Hakata Bay. Part of the
confusion with the names stem from the days when the annex and Brady
AB were Army installations before the USAF took command in 1956.
At its height, Itazuke AB was the largest USAF base on Kyūshū, but
was closed in 1972 due to budget reductions and the overall reduction
of United States military forces in Japan.
Japanese military base
Mushiroda was built on farmland that once grew bumper rice crops
during 1943. The base was first used by trainer aircraft. The airfield
soon proved unserviceable for the fledgling flyers because of the high
water level of the former rice lands. Frequent rain showers flooded
the runway making it unsafe for the novice aviators.
The Japanese Air Force's 6th Fighter Wing replaced the trainers and
Mushiroda became an air defense base. The 6th Wing had 30 single
engine fighters and several reconnaissance aircraft to patrol the
Okinawa-Kyūshū aerial invasion corridor. In April 1945 the Tachiarai
Airfield at Kurume was destroyed by American B-29's. Tachiarai's
bomber aircraft were moved to Mushiroda and the base became very
active until late in the war when B-29's attacked the airfield and
destroyed most of the Imperial Japanese forces stationed here.
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The first American units moved into the facility in November 1945,
38th Bombardment Group
38th Bombardment Group stationed B-25 Mitchells on the
airfield. Moving to Itazuke from Yontan Airfield, Okinawa, the mission
of the 38th Bomb Group was to fly daily surveillance missions to
monitor shipping traffic between Kyūshū and Korea in order to
intradict smuggling of illegal Korean immigrants and goods. Along with
the 38th, the 8th Fighter Group was assigned to the airfield on 1
April 1946 which performed occupation duties until April 1947. Due to
the massive destruction of the facility during the War, the only
available buildings to house personnel was the Kyūshū Airplane
Company's complex in Zasshonokuma. Designated Base Two, the former
aircraft company was converted to barracks, dining halls, a post
exchange, and BOQ. Additional facilities and billets were housed in a
tent city at the airfield.
The 38th Bomb Group remained at Itazuke until October 1946 also during
with time several reconstruction units worked on the former IJAAF base
rebuilding and constructing new facilities. Headquarters, 315th
Bombardment Wing moved into the base during May 1946, spending most of
the postwar occupation years at the new American Air Force base.
When the 38th Bomb Group moved to Itami Airfield, it was replaced by
the P-61 Black Widow-equipped
347th Fighter Group
347th Fighter Group that moved from
Nagoya Airfield. The 347th's mission was to provide air defense of
Japanese airspace with the long range former night fighter. the 347th
Fighter Wing, All Weather, was established at Itazuke in August 1948
when the unit was reformed under the new United States Air Force
"Base-Wing" reorganization. The 347th moved to
Bofu Air Base
Bofu Air Base in
October. It was replaced by the
475th Fighter Wing
475th Fighter Wing which brought with
it the new F-82 Twin Mustangs, replacing the wartime Black Widows for
air defense missions. Once up to full strength, it was moved to Ashiya
Airfield in March 1949.
By early 1949, reconstruction of Itazuke was complete along the
construction of long jet runways. The
8th Fighter Wing
8th Fighter Wing moved in during
March with the
F-80C Shooting Star
F-80C Shooting Star jet, which provided air interceptor
defense of Japan.
The flightline at Itazuke Air Base, Japan, 1950. The F-82 in the
foreground belongs to the 69th All Weather Fighter Squadron, and the
F-80s are assigned to the 8th Fighter-Bomber Group
Itazuke played a key role in the
Korean War and the defense of the
Pusan perimeter in 1950.
On June 25, 1950,
North Korea invaded South Korea, starting a war that
would last three years. Being the closest USAF base to the Korean
8th Fighter Wing
8th Fighter Wing at Itazuke initially provided air
cover for the evacuation of Americans from Korea on June 26, the day
after the invasion. In these early operations, Itazuke Air Base
F-80C Shooting Star
F-80C Shooting Star jet fighters of the 8th Fighter Wing,
along with propeller driven aircraft such as the F-82C Twin Mustangs
of the 68th Fighter Squadron, All Weather, and P-51D Mustangs which
were shipped from the United States for ground support missions in
South Korea. The first aerial victory of the
Korean War went to 1Lt
William G. Hudson, of the 68th Fighter Squadron, All Weather in an
During the Korean War, Itazuke was a major combat airfield for the
8th Fighter Wing
8th Fighter Wing moved to a forward base in
South Korea in
late Fall of 1950. With the move the support element that remained at
Itazuke was redesignated the 6160th Air Base Wing. The USAF moved
several of its combat units to the base for operations over Korea,
these being the 49th Fighter Group, the 58th Fighter-Bomber Wing; the
51st Fighter-Interceptor Wing; the 452d Bombardment Wing; the 27th
Fighter-Escort Wing and the
Texas Air National Guard
Texas Air National Guard 136th Fighter
Group. A wide variety of aircraft operated from the airfield from
B-26 Invader tactical bombers, F-80 Shooting Stars, F-84
Thunderjets, F-82 Twin Mustangs and
F-94 Starfire jet interceptors.
After the 1953 Armistice in Korea, the wartime combat units were
slowly withdrawn back to the United States or reassigned to other
airfields in Japan and South Korea. The base settled down to another
era of peace to become the key base in the defense of Western Japan.
8th Fighter Wing
8th Fighter Wing returned to Itazuke from its forward airfield at
Suwon AB (K-13),
South Korea in October 1954, being the host unit at
the base for the next ten years.
During the 1950s, the 8th flew the F-86 Sabre for air defense of Japan
and South Korea, being upgraded to the new
F-100 Super Sabre
F-100 Super Sabre in 1956.
In 1961 the wing received
Air Defense Command F-102 Delta Daggers,
specifically designed for the air defense mission.
The 8th was reassigned back to the United States in July 1964 to
George AFB, California where it was equipped with the new F-4C Phantom
II and eventually became a major USAF combat wing in
the Vietnam War. With the departure of the 8th TFW, the 348th Combat
Support Group became the host unit at Itazuke, with the Pacific Air
41st Air Division
41st Air Division becoming the operational USAF unit at the
base. During the 1960s and numerous rotational units from the United
States deployed to the base. The F-105 Thunderchief-equipped 35th
Tactical Fighter Squadron was the major flying organization until
1968, when it was moved to
Thailand for combat operations over North
Vietnam during the Vietnam War. During the Vietnam War, a detachment
552d Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing
552d Airborne Early Warning and Control Wing which operated
C-121 Constellation AWACS aircraft operated from Itazuke, but the
stable situation in
South Korea led to the gradual phase down of the
base and personnel were withdrawn for other duties.
In 1970 it was announced that Itazuke would be returned to Japanese
control, and the USAF facilities were closed on 31 March 1972.
Fukuoka's first civilian air service was Japan Airlines'
Fukuoka-Osaka-Tokyo service, which commenced in 1951. JAL introduced
jet service on the Fukuoka-Tokyo route in 1961. The airport's first
international service was to nearby Busan, South Korea, beginning in
Air Siam and
Air France both began long-haul service to
Fukuoka in 1975, but withdrew within two years.
In the mid-1990s,
Delta Air Lines
Delta Air Lines operated a non-stop flight between
Fukuoka and its transpacific hub in Portland, Oregon, but later
dropped the route due to financial pressure.
Japan Airlines operated
flights from Fukuoka to Hawaii until withdrawing in 2005. Delta
launched service to
Honolulu in 2011, which was successful beyond
expectations, particularly due to the opening of the
which made it a convenient resort route offering for passengers from
throughout Kyushu. This led to an increase of Delta's frequencies in
2012, as well as
Hawaiian Airlines offering a daily Fukuoka-Honolulu
Although Fukuoka is known as one of the most convenient airports in
Japan, it is constrained both by its inner-city location and by its
single runway. Operations at the airport began to exceed its
capacity of 145,000 annual flights in 2012, the year in which several
new low-cost carriers began operation. The Japan Civil Aviation
Bureau has announced that Fukuoka will be designated as a "congested
airport" (IATA Level 3) from late March 2016, meaning that the airport
will be subject to slot restrictions and operators will have to
receive 5-year permits from JCAB in order to operate at FUK.
With Fukuoka's ambitions to become a hub for business and travel in
East Asia, moving the airport further inland or to an offshore
artificial island to accommodate increased traffic has been
considered. However, the idea of a new airport in the sea off Shingu
has been opposed by environmentalists. The Gan-no-su coastal area has
also been mooted, and it was the site of an airfield in the 1940s, but
similar environmental concerns exist there. There is some debate as to
whether a new airport is really needed, given the cost, the
environmental problems, and the available capacity at alternates New
Airport and Saga Airport, though much more distant from the
As of July 2013[update], the Japanese government was considering
building a second 2,800 m parallel runway within the existing airfield
at a cost of 180 billion yen, two-thirds of which would be borne by
the national government and the remaining third of which would be
borne by the local government by 2019. A change in direction, As
of April 2017[update] FUK will follow the model of other airports
nationwide and undergo privatization but the 2nd runway is delayed;
the funding model will aim sell the airport by fiscal 2019, the 2nd
runway build and second parallel taxiway on the domestic side are both
scheduled by fiscal year 2024 in order to free up traffic jams that
currently occur due to overcrowding on the ground.
Accidents and incidents
In 1962, an F-100 crashed on take off. The wreckage came to rest not
far from the Fukuoka terminal. The plane was destroyed, and the pilot
On March 31, 1970,
Japan Airlines Flight 351, carrying 131 passengers
and 7 crew from Tokyo to Fukuoka, was hijacked by 9 members of the
Japanese Red Army
Japanese Red Army group. 23 passengers were freed at Fukuoka Airport,
mainly children or the elderly. 108 passengers and all crew members
with Red Army group left Fukuoka, bound for Gimpo Airport, near Seoul.
Three days later, the Red Army group asked to be flown to North Korean
capital Pyongyang, before leaving from Seoul, 103 passenger and crew
hostages were freed, and 9 Red Army group members surrendered to North
Korean authorities.
On December 17, 1989, a hijacked CAAC Flight 981 plane emergency
landing at airport, a Chinese nationality of the suspect detained in
Japan to four months, aftermath, eight years imprisonment sentenced
and political rights deprivation 2 years on July 18 in mainland
On June 13, 1996, a
Garuda Indonesia Airways DC-10, Flight 865,
crashed on take-off, killing 3 passengers and injuring 18. The pilot
appeared to hesitate about applying full throttle upon a single engine
failure. The crash occurred within the airport perimeter when the
aircraft was already airborne, nine feet off the ground.
On August 12, 2005, metal fragments fell in a Fukuoka residential area
JALways Flight 58, a DC-10 airplane bound for
Honolulu after an
engine briefly caught fire shortly after take-off. Two people on the
ground were injured by falling debris.
Current Japan Self-Defense Force Units
Commanded from the nearby Kasuga Air Base:
Japan Air Self-Defense Force
Western Air Command Support Squadron (Kawasaki T-4)
Kasuga Helicopter Airlift Squadron (CH-47J)
Nearby major airports
KKJ (61 km (38 mi))
HSG (77 km (48 mi))
KMJ (91 km (57 mi))
OIT (119 km (74 mi))
UBJ (85 km (53 mi))
NGS (85 km (53 mi))
IKI (89 km (55 mi))
TSJ (120 km (75 mi))
United States Air Force
United States Air Force portal
Military of the United States portal
World War II portal
This article incorporates public domain material from the
Air Force Historical Research Agency
Air Force Historical Research Agency website http://www.afhra.af.mil/.
Fletcher, Harry R. (1989) Air Force Bases Volume II, Active Air Force
Bases outside the United States of America on 17 September 1982.
Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History.
Maurer, Maurer (1983). Air Force Combat Units Of World War II. Maxwell
AFB, Alabama: Office of Air Force History. ISBN 0-89201-092-4.
Ravenstein, Charles A. (1984). Air Force Combat Wings Lineage and
Honors Histories 1947–1977. Maxwell AFB, Alabama: Office of Air
Force History. ISBN 0-912799-12-9.
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Missing or empty title= (help)[dead link]
^ ASN Aircraft accident McDonnell Douglas DC-10-30 PK-GIE Fukuoka
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