OSAKA--Hoping to attract more low-cost carriers (LCC), Kansai International Airport has embarked on constructing a new terminal exclusively for these growing breed of airlines.
The airport held a groundbreaking ceremony for the new terminal on Oct. 19 to celebrate the start of construction. The terminal is scheduled to be in use in the second half of fiscal 2012.
When completed, the facility will be Japan's first LCC-only terminal.
"As a driving force of the growth strategies for Kansai International Airport, we want to expand and strengthen LCC-related projects," Shinichi Fukushima, president of the airport operator, said at the groundbreaking ceremony.
The new terminal will be equipped with an aircraft parking apron that has nine spots and will be used for both international and domestic flights. There will be no boarding bridges. Passengers will board and disembark via airstairs.
Functions and services at the terminal will be reduced to make the facility usage charge and other fees cheaper and, as a result, make the airport more cost effective for LCCs.
Kansai International Airport is expected to serve as a base for Peach Aviation Ltd., an LCC affiliated with major Japanese airline All Nippon Airways Co. Peach Aviation plans to start operations in the spring.
Kansai International Airport, whose operations are scheduled to be integrated with those of the Osaka International Airport in fiscal 2012, is actively seeking LCCs, especially those based in Asian countries.
At present, five LCCs have flights to Kansai International Airport. AirAsia X of Malaysia also plans to start flying to Kansai airport from late November.
(This article was written by Norihiko Shinjo and Kiyohide Inada.)
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