Osaka Kansai International Airport
Located near Osaka, Kansai International Airport, provides international and domestic air service to the region from a man-made island in Osaka Harbor. Also known by the airport code KIX, the facility provides service to about 17 million passengers each year with the majority traveling form or to destinations outside of Japan.
History of the Airport
Building the airport first involved building the island. This took from 1987 to 1989 and involved moving 21 million cubic meters of fill to the site. The island is designed to withstand earthquakes, tidal waves, and weather problems. However, the island was plagued by settling during its early years. This was anticipated but occurred at a level that alarmed some and caused some community and aviation industry leaders to question the wisdom of building an airport on an island created in the bay. Over the years, the island has stabilized with only limited settling occurring.
Terminal and runway construction began in 1991 and opened from operations in 1994. The airports is one of the most expensive in the world due to the construction costs associated with building the island.
Osaka Kansai Airport Amenities
Kansai International Airport makes use of a single terminal. This building is more than 1 mile or about 1.7 kilometers long. A system known as the Wing Shuttle moves passengers from place to place within the terminal. The tourist information center provides information on events and attractions in the Osaka area in a multitude of languages including Chinese and English.
The Kix Kidsroom provides a playground space for children under the age of 6 who must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. The facility is free for young travelers and operates with staff members supervising the play from 7 a.m. to midnight local time. The Kix portion of the Kix Kidsroom is a reference to the airport code KIX. The airport also provides nursing rooms for mothers with infants along with strollers.
Visitors at Kansai International Airport have a number of lounges to relax in between flights or while awaiting departure. Many of the lounges are specific to the airline the passenger is traveling with. In addition, travelers who desire to clean up a bit may use the coin operated showers located within the terminal. Massage chairs and a spa area are located near the shower concession. Other specialized facilities include VIP lounges and rooms where smoking is allowed.
The airport utilizes two runways to handle about 100,000 take offs and landings each year. The runways are about 3,700 meters or 12,000 feet long and capable of handling aircraft the size of a Boeing 747 or smaller. The runways are lit and equipped with instrument landing systems. The second runway was to include a second terminal but the terminal project was scraped in a cost saving measure.
Future plans for Kansai International Airport include adding the second terminal as intended as part of the runway expansion project. Other expansions include additional cargo handling facilities and possibly a third runway. The timing of any future expansion is unknown and will depend on future economic conditions. The airport currently operates at or near capacity during the busiest portions of its day.