An airport that opened Monday in Osaka is the world's most expensive - and that's not even counting how much you might spend at the concession stands.
Kansai International Airport, built on a manmade island in Osaka Bay, will charge planes $24 a ton to land, the steepest landing fee anywhere. It also cost more than any other airport - $15 billion for design and construction.By comparison, Denver's controversial new airport cost about $3.7 billion to design and build. And when Los Angeles International Airport raised landing fees to about $3 a ton last year, airlines threatened to strike.
Japan's Crown Prince Naruhito and Princess Masako were among the dignitaries on hand for ceremonies inaugurating Kansai, which authorities hope will become an Asian hub. Osaka, 250 miles west of Tokyo, is Japan's second-largest city.
Construction was plagued by problems. The airport's opening was delayed 18 months after engineers discovered the artificial island was sinking into the bay. More soil was hastily added.
About 400 international flights a week are scheduled, along with 470 domestic flights. The airport will be Japan's first to be open 24 hours a day.
At the inaugural ceremonies, police took special precautions against possible sabotage. Radicals opposed the construction of this airport, as they did Narita Airport outside Tokyo, saying it detracts from the livelihood of farmers and fishermen.
In the 71/2 years since construction of the Kansai airport began, radicals have been blamed for nearly two dozen attacks against airports and Transport Ministry facilities. Some 11,000 police were mobilized for Monday's ceremonies.