Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni, Japan -- Japanese distinguished guest, U.S. servicemembers and civilians met at the Iwakuni Kintaikyo Airport for the opening ceremonies Dec. 9, 2012.
The opening consisted of an indoor formal ceremony of approximately 100 people and an outdoor ribbon cutting with approximately 1,000 people.
“More than 20 years of long lasting efforts of so many people in the community is finally bearing the fruit,” said Shigetaro Yamamoto, governor of Yamaguchi Prefecture. “I continue my full efforts to have the opening of a commercial airport in Iwakuni surely deliver vitalization and prosperity in the local community and its development.”
The airport marks a significant completion in the Iwakuni community, but the work is far from done.
“The opening of this commercial airport is not the final goal,” said Yoshihiko Fukuda, mayor of Iwakuni City. “This is a new beginning. To develop a community filled with vitalized power and to make our place where different people and supplies meet and exchange, I continue my efforts to achieve that goal using the best benefit of having a commercial airport here.”
Maj. Gen. Andrew W. O’Donnell Jr. spoke on behalf of servicemembers and their families.
“I'd like to say how pleased we are to see this monumental effort and labor in the opening of the Kintaikyo Airport. This facility represents prosperity for our friends and neighbors, it means an increased quality of life for us too. As guests, most of us come here from far away to live and work in Japan. The ordeal of traveling half way across the world has just been made easier. Kintaikyo Airport and all it brings to the community while standing firmly aboard MCAS Iwakuni, symbolizes the mutual cooperation and friendship of our countries. Friends and neighbors, we wish you good fortune and prosperity at this opening of a new chapter in our shared history. Thank you very much.”
All Nippon Airways is scheduled to run four round-trip flights per day between Iwakuni Kintaikyo Airport and Haneda, Tokyo International Airport. With construction complete, the airport can make traveling for servicemembers and families much more convenient.