Two years ago, I flew back home from Japan through Nagoya’s main gateway to the world. Let’s look back into the depths of history – well, not all that far back or deep – and see what the experience was like.
Welcome to Chūbu Centrair International Airport.
Note: This report covers the international departures area of NGO and its related facilities. The airport’s international arrivals area and domestic zone will not be described in detail.
Nearly all of the images used here were taken on the day I used the airport (06 June 2016). Please bear in mind that NGO’s facilities, access infrastructure, gate arrangements and so forth may have changed considerably in the two years that have passed since then. The commentary presented below includes information believed to be current as of the time of writing (i.e., already reflecting changes that have taken place since my original visit), but even these details may change without notice.
Airport name :
English – Chūbu Centrair International Airport
Japanese (Kanji/Kana) – 中部国際空港
Japanese (Rōmaji) – Chūbu Kokusai Kūkō
IATA code : NGO
ICAO code : RJGG
Country : Japan
Major city served : Nagoya, Aichi Prefecture
Routes served : International and domestic.
Terminals : One, with segregated domestic (north) and international (south) zones. This report covers the international zone only. Note that a second terminal for low-cost carriers is now under construction, and is expected to be finished in 2019.
Passenger traffic : 10,843,122 for 2016 (5,184,685 international and 5,658,437 domestic). Source – MLIT.
Related links : Official Site / Wikipedia / Japan-Guide
Date of visit : Monday, 06 June 2016.
Flight taken from airport : Jetstar Japan GK95, Nagoya-Manila (NGO-MNL), scheduled departure 2030.
LAND TRANSPORT CONNECTIONS
Passengers travelling between NGO and Nagoya have the full range of options available to them, with rail services and scheduled buses plying the route during most of the day. Further details on the various means of transport are available on the airport’s official website, which also has a special page dealing specifically with access to/from Nagoya proper.
For my part, I made use of the trains when heading into the city and back. More information – including timetables and route maps – can be consulted on the website of the railway operator (Meitetsu).
Trains, buses, and taxis depart from NGO’s Access Plaza, an intermodal station linked to the airport terminal by means of a covered walkway.
Now then, with transportation all sorted out, let’s have a look at the terminal itself.
NGO currently has a single passenger terminal building, divided into a domestic zone (north) and international zone (south).
Construction has just begun on a new low-cost terminal next to the southern wing, with completion scheduled for the first half of 2019. I have no information on which specific airlines will be transferred there, but it’s quite possible that the budget carrier I was flying with on the day I used NGO (Jetstar Japan) will eventually dock at the new facility once it opens.
Let’s have a look at the check-in area.
A good mix of shopping and dining establishments can be enjoyed in the public/landside zone, specifically in the large “Sky Town” commercial area on the 4th floor (one level above the check-in lobby). This might be the best place to tuck into a meal before your flight, as eating options are comparatively thin on the ground once you’ve gone through immigration.
That said, you’ll find the usual duty free outlets in the secure/airside area, so at least the shopping part can still be taken care of here.
What’s a Japanese airport without gashapon dispensers? (^_^)
Once you’ve had your fill of retail therapy – or your wallet’s run empty, whichever comes first – it’s time to head for the boarding gates.
Most international flights make use of the normal aerobridge-equipped gates along NGO’s southern wing.
It can be a bit of a slog if your assigned gate is located towards the end. No worries – there are travellators to help ease the long transit.
Not all flights dock directly at the terminal building, though. My flight back to Manila, for example…
…was assigned to number 205, one of NGO’s bus gates. Passengers funnelled through one of these boarding points don’t walk into their aeroplane through a sheltered bridge. Instead, they’re loaded onto a bus and driven out to the remote parking stand where the aircraft is berthed. Once there, they must ascend a set of stairs to the plane’s door before finally being able to take their seats. It’s a not-uncommon arrangement at facilities that don’t have enough aerobridges to serve all flights (like Busan-Gimhae’s International Terminal), and pretty much standard at budget terminals (such as Tōkyō-Narita’s Terminal 3).
In the case of NGO, the entrance to the bus gates is located about halfway down the main terminal’s international wing.
Down, down, down we go, towards a lower section on almost the same level as the tarmac itself.
There isn’t much going on around here (apart from a couple of vending machines), so I’d strongly suggest raiding the shops or restaurants elsewhere in the terminal before coming down to this area.
But for, er, more pressing needs of a personal nature … well there’s no need to worry. There are of course washrooms available.
Right, time to board. Over to our gate, and into the waiting bus that will haul us out to the aeroplane.
Chūbu Centrair was far from crowded when I used it two years ago, but that extra capacity will probably get whittled away before too long. After several years of declining passenger traffic, numbers began to pick up in 2012 and have been rising ever since, with the latest published full-year count (10.8 million in 2016) the highest since 2008. Even now, preparations for the future are already under way, with NGO’s new terminal expected to increase capacity by 4.5 million passengers annually (2/3 international, 1/3 domestic) when it opens in 2019.
In any event, as at the day of my visit in 2016, the existing facilities seemed perfectly capable of coping with current numbers. I did observe a relative dearth of dining options after immigration, though it might take a few more years of rising passenger counts before major additions become commercially viable. As things stand – or rather, as they stood at the time – NGO has everything I’d require of a regional airport and then some.