T1 Launch at Kansai International Airport

October 31, 2022

A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new domestic area of Kansai International Airport (KIX) took place on Wednesday 26 October with dignitaries and KIX representatives officially launching Terminal 1.

Located in Osaka, Japan, Populous is working with Kansai Airports Group to lead the architecture and interior design for the redevelopment of the airport as well oversee the project throughout construction.

The re-imagined facility is undergoing a phased renovation to be completed across the domestic and international terminals until 2026.

Populous Senior Principal and Director Brett Wightman said the team are redefining the entire airport passenger experience at KIX.

“A contemporary airport experience has emerged as one of the single most important opportunities a city has to shape visitors’ impressions.”

“We are very proud to bring to life the vision for Kansai International Airports to re-image the customer experience and reshape the passenger journey,” Wightman said.

Terminal 1 features attractive spaces where passengers can enjoy shopping and dining while waiting for boarding.

The renovated domestic zone includes an expanded commercial area with six new outlets (four restaurants and two stores) that feature Kansai-themed retail stores.

Additionally, a domestic lounge was also opened as part of the celebrations.

The opening of the new Terminal 1 renovation will enhance the functions of KIX ahead of the future growth and major events and improve the passenger experience for millions of locals and visitors to Osaka and the wider Kansai region.

“Populous have a long history of designing places that create memorable experiences and draw people together and we’re excited to work with Kansai Airport to deliver a unique experience for every passenger and increase the operational efficiency to meet future growth demands,” Wightman said.

Kansai International Airport is an important gateway to Osaka and phase two of the project includes the development of the new international departures area, which began construction in July this year and will open in Q4 of 2023.

The grand opening of the major functions of the airport will be completed in 2025 with further expansion works launching in 2026.


  • Populous dignitaries attending the official ceremony included Managing Director APAC, Paul Henry, Head of Business Japan, Mako Ihara, Senior Principal and Director, Brett Wightman, Principal Ben Dawson, Design Manager, Jack Kato and Project Architect, Shion Go. 
  • VIPs and guests attend the official opening ceremony for T1 of the domestic area of KIX
  • A new retail store offering Kansai's finest foods, located in the domestic area of KIX
  • The new food and beverage areas that mix in with the retail stores in the new domestic area of KIX

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *