Kansai International Airport

Osaka, Japan
Kansai Airport have engaged Populous to re-imagine the facility ahead of future growth and major events; improving the passenger experience for millions of locals and visitors to Osaka and the wider Kansai region.

Populous’ design will enable Kansai International Airport to secure its long-term growth by making the best possible use of existing infrastructure and maximising commercial return in a cost efficient way. The major re-development will be phased to allow operations to continue and completed in time to support the City of Osaka’s bid to host the 2025 World Expo.

The contemporary airport experience has emerged as one of the single most important opportunities a city has to shape visitors’ impressions. Airports the world over are now the new 21st century rail stations that truly connect the passengers to the city.

Populous are offering a bold new approach to meet Kansai Airport’s aspirations, re-designing the terminal to:

  • increase international capacity by 25% from 19.4 million passengers per year up to 30 million passengers per year
  • increase the international departure lounge and retail offerings by 60%
  • introduce world-first retail layouts based on passenger experiences and moods
  • create a seamless passenger processing experience, and to
  • provide an inspirational arrival experience to start each journey.




By working collaboratively with the facility operators, end users and key stakeholders, Populous deliver innovative airport design solutions that are experiential and authentic with a distinct spirit of place. Importantly the design is built upon operational functionality, inter-modality, passenger convenience, accessibility and sustainability.

As the gateway to Japan’s second largest metropolitan area, Kansai is an extremely important airport to the country. The construction will be phased over a six year period to minimise operational disruptions starting in 2018. Early work to improve passenger processing has already begun to help with the increased traffic expected from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

Led by Populous, the design team over the life of the project team has included various retail and planning consultants.

  • 2023

    • Finalist World Architecture Festival Awards Future Projects - Infrastructure
3 items.
  • Brett Wightman Director, Senior Principal Singapore
  • Jack Kato Associate Principal, Design Manager, Architect Osaka
  • Ben Dawson Principal, Head of Aviation APAC Singapore

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