Kansai International Airport is an important airport in Japan. It is a publicly-owned airport that is operated by the New Kansai International Airport Co., Ltd., that serves the Greater Osaka Area. It is located on an artificial island in the middle of Osaka Bay, some 38 kilometres southwest of Osaka Station, and is situated within three municipalities, including Izumisano, Sennan, and Tajiri in the Osaka prefecture. The airport is off the Honshu shore, and is designed by Italian architect, Renzo Piano.
KIX, or Kansai International Airport, was opened to relieve the overcrowding at Osaka International Airport. The latter, distinguished from the former as the Osaka-Itami Airport, now only serves domestic flights. Kansai International Airport currently holds 780 weekly flights to Asia and Australia, 59 weekly flights to Europe and the Middle East, and 80 weekly flights to North America. These numbers include freight services. As of this writing, the airport serves as a hub for several airlines such as ANA – All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines, FedEx Express, Jetstar Japan, Peach, and Nippon Cargo Airlines. It is also considered the international gateway to Japan's Kansai region, which contains major urban areas such as Kyoto, Kobe, and Osaka.
Currently, Kansai International Airport has two terminals, aptly named Terminal 1 and 2. Terminal 1 is considered as the main passenger terminal, a four-story building that has a gross floor space of 296,043 square metres. As of 2008, it is known as the longest airport terminal in the world, measuring some 1.7 kilometres from end to end. The terminal boasts of a sophisticated people mover system called the Wing Shuttle, which moves passengers from one end to the other. Terminal 1's design was made by Renzo Piano and Noriaki Okabe. Its roof is shaped like an airfoil, promoting air circulation through the building. Giant air conditioning ducts blow air upwards at one side of the terminal, circulate the air across the curvature of the ceiling, and collect the air through intakes at the other side. Mobiles are suspended in the ticketing hall to take advantage of the flowing air. The said ticketing hall overlooks the international departures concourse, and the two are separated by a glass partition. During the early days of the airport, visitors were known to throw objects over the partition to friends in the corridor below. The partition was modified however, and the practise was stopped.
On the other hand, Terminal 2 is a low-cost carrier (LCC) terminal that is designed to attract more LCCs to the airport. Lower landing fees are imposed here, thus pulling in LCCs from around the region. Some of the LCCs currently use the main terminal though since Terminal 2 is full, but plans to build a third terminal are in place to accommodate the other companies. In comparison to Terminal 1, Terminal 2 has adapted a simpler and more efficient design. The terminal is a single-story building, thus eliminating the need and the cost of elevators. Passageways to aircraft have no air-conditioning too, and the terminal has no jet bridges. During rains, passengers are lent umbrellas so that they can walk to the aircraft.
Services and Facilities
Kansai International Airport resides at an elevation of five metres or 17 feet above mean sea level. It is served by numerous airlines, including Air Asia X, Air China, Air France, Air India, Air Macau, Asiana, Cathay Pacific, Cebu Pacific, China Airlines, Delta Airlines, Eaststar Jet, Emirates, EVA Air, Finnair, Korean Air, Lufthansa, Malaysia Airlines, Singapore Airlines, and many others. The airport is home to several services and facilities, which can aide travellers on their baggage, rental services, transportation, Internet services, and other needs. Relaxation areas, such as lounges, showers, refreshment facilities, VIP rooms, and smoking rooms are also available here. Other facilities include banks, currency exchange, ATMs, and other business services. Further, shops and restaurants are also located at the airport, for the travellers' convenience.