Kansai Airports is renovating Kansai International Airport’s existing facilities and introducing new technology to enhance the passenger experience.
Kansai Airports has launched the largest airport renovation project in the region for 50 years to boost the appeal of Kansai International Airport (KIX) and support Japan’s post-pandemic recovery.
The move is in line with VINCI Airports’ commitment to bringing the highest quality standards to its network of 45 airports across the globe.
Instead of building a new terminal, Kansai Airports is improving the existing terminal and KIX’s operational efficiency by proactively introducing cutting-edge technologies in a bid to ensure a comfortable, stress-free travel experience for all passengers.
Kansai Airports – a consortium created by VINCI Airports and ORIX in 2015 – is implementing its own Fast Travel initiative to streamline departure procedures and increase KIX’s processing capacity, ultimately allowing passengers more time to enjoy the terminal’s facilities before boarding.
On the fourth floor of Terminal 1, it has introduced self-check-in kiosks and self-service bag drop units alongside check-in counters to shorten passengers’ check-in time.
Furthermore, with the aim of directing passengers to less crowded security areas to improve KIX’s security processing capacity, the airport has enabled passengers to see the congestion level and estimated waiting time of each international security checkpoint on KIX’s website as well as on the departures floor.
This has been made possible courtesty of a Passenger Flow Management (PFM) system that uses sensors to recognise and count passengers in a queue and predicts the time required for security and passport clearance, factoring in the number of lanes used for security check and other elements.
At the entrance of each security checkpoint, KIX has installed e-gates to automate the verification of boarding passes, which makes departure procedures even smoother. Previously, security personnel collected boarding passes from passengers and scanned them at the entrance of the international security area to ensure all passengers had valid tickets.
With the new gates, passengers can now self-scan their boarding pass to enter the security area. The introduction of the automated gates has expedited passenger processing and enabled smoother security screening.
At security checkpoints, Smart Lanes, the latest security screening machines, have been installed. They can check baggage of multiple passengers at the same time, which allows passengers to go through the security screening more quickly than before.
The automated movement of trays has also eliminated the need for security personnel to move the trays, freeing up their time to guide and assist passengers. In addition to reducing screening times, Kansai Airports notes that the Smart Lanes have helped improve KIX’s on-time departure record.
T1 renovation started in May 2021
In May 2021, Kansai Airports started renovation works on Terminal 1 at KIX, 27 years after its opening in 1994. The main purposes of this renovation is to increase the airport’s international capacity and enhance the passenger experience through Fast Travel solutions.
By installing more Smart Lanes and e-gates and consolidating separately located security checkpoints, KIX will reduce the time required for departure procedures and give passengers more time to enjoy terminal facilities before boarding.
They will also change the layout of the international and domestic areas to integrate international operations that are currently divided into north and south. The new layout will increase the international departure area by 60% allowing for the introduction of a walk-through duty free area, more shops and restaurants. It will also increase the number of international boarding gates from the current 34 to 39, and greatly simplify wayfinding, making the terminal more convenient and intuitive to navigate.
Kansai Airports will also enhance KIX’s operational efficiency with the October 2021 implementation of an Airport Operational Data Base (AODB), which will centralise the management of all airport resources and further optimise airport operations in partnership with its stakeholders.
The main airport functions of the terminal will be ready for use by the time of the Osaka-Kansai Expo in 2025. Once the renovation works are completed, the international capacity of the airport will increase to 40 million passengers per annum.