Renovating Kansai International: The gateway to western Japan


10 November 2022



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Tsuyoshi Emura, Executive Officer, General Manager of T1 Renovation PMO at Kansai Airports, tells International Airport Review about the project and what it is looking achieve.

Kansai Airports is undertaking a large‑scale renovation of Terminal 1 (T1) of Kansai International Airport (KIX), for the first time since its opening in 1994, to accommodate increasing inbound passengers. With the concepts of “expand international capacity,” “enhance airside area,” and “improve passenger experience,” we will expand the capacity of international flights and enhance our commercial and dining zones to greatly upgrade the attractiveness of the airport.

The construction will be carried out in four phases. As phase 1, we have been developing a new domestic area, and in phase 2, we will renovate the former domestic area into a new international departure area. This will enable us to rearrange the layout for international and domestic areas as well as the ratio of landside and airside, thereby increasing international capacity and enhancing airside. At the same time, we promote fast travel by utilising technologies such as self-check-in and self-baggage drop to provide a smooth journey with less waiting time.

New domestic area opening

On October 26, 2022, a new domestic area will open after the completion of phase 1. In the new domestic area, security checkpoints will be consolidated in one location on the south side of the terminal with six smart lanes introduced, contributing to reduced waiting times during congestion.

The commercial area in the airside will be greatly expanded, with an opening of six outlets (four restaurants and two retail shops) rich in Kansai colour, including an okonomiyaki (savoury pancake) restaurant from Osaka and a tempura specialty restaurant from Kyoto, and a new domestic lounge accessible to eligible passengers. It will be transformed into an attractive space where passengers can enjoy shopping, dining and other activities while waiting for boarding. With the opening of the area, the locations of each airline’s check-in counter, departure and arrival gates will also be changed.

In the landside, a total of seven outlets (six restaurants, one retail shop) will open in October 2022, including the food court ‘Tasty Street’ ahead of the full opening of the area. This area offers services which meet the needs of a wide range of people, including flying passengers, send-offs and greeters, and those who stay at the airport late at night.

Future steps

Aiming for a grand opening in conjunction with the 2025 Osaka-Kansai Expo, we plan to open an international departure area in the centre of the second floor around winter 2023 (phase 2) and an international lounge on the third floor, as well as an expanded security inspection area on the fourth floor around spring 2025 (phase 3.) Once completed, the entire KIX, including Terminal 2, will be able to accommodate 40 million international passengers annually. As a gateway to western Japan that welcomes passengers from all over the world, KIX will steadily take initiatives to respond to future aviation demand, while aiming to be an airport where passengers can have comfortable and new travel experiences.

Tsuyoshi Emura, Executive Officer, General Manager of T1 Renovation PMO at Kansai Airports, tells International Airport Review about the project and what it is looking achieve.In April 2018, Tsuyoshi Emura was appointed General Manager of T1 Renovation PMO. In April 2020, he was appointed Executive Officer of Kansai Airports Emura joined Kansai International Airport Company (KIAC) in 1992 and is in charge of environmental assessment, airport island design and LCC terminal planning. he joined Kansai Airports in 2016 and was also in charge of planning for Terminal 1 Renovation.

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