ROUTES: Osaka's Kansai gears up for LCC terminal

Abu Dhabi
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Japan's first dedicated low-cost terminal will begin operations on 28 October as the country gears up for projected growth in budget traffic.

The new terminal at Osaka's Kansai International Airport will become the base for Peach, the joint venture between All Nippon Airways and several Hong Kong-based investors, which now uses the airport's Terminal 1.

While the new terminal will have enough apron space for nine aircraft and be able to handle 4 million passengers annually, there is room for expansion, says Kazunori Sugitani, who heads the airport strategy office at the Osaka prefectural government's department of planning and policy.

"We recognise that the low-cost traffic is very important for Japan. Jetstar Japan recently announced that they will make Kansai airport their second base after Narita in Tokyo, and we will work with the other airlines as well."

Domestic low-cost flights at Kansai increased from virtually zero in 2011 to 34% as of September 2012, with three airlines operating 154 flights a week to seven cities. The share of international low-cost services has gone from 7% in 2011 to 14%, with eight airlines operating 102 flights a week to 11 cities in six countries.