OSAKA — Kansai International Airport, hit by a slump in international travel since the terrorist attacks in the United States last fall, is slowly attracting more overseas business, particularly from Asian airlines.
According to Kansai International Airport Co., Asian airlines have increased the number of flights to the Osaka-area airport since April.
Air China, which links Kansai with Beijing and other Chinese destinations, has increased flights to Kansai from 11 to 14 a week, while Asiana Airlines has added three flights a week to its Kansai-Seoul route, to 21.
In July, Vietnam Airlines will add one flight a week to Ho Chi Minh City, while China Southwest Airlines plans to launch two flights per week linking Kansai and the southwestern Chinese city of Chongqing.
Emirates Airlines, based in the United Arab Emirates, will launch a newly scheduled service between Kansai and Dubai, four flights a week, starting in October.
While international travel has been climbing back up since the Sept. 11 attacks, Kansai airport has been hurt by a shift in international flights to New Tokyo International Airport in Narita, Chiba Prefecture.
The withdrawal of Japan Air System from international operations has also hurt international travel at Kansai.
According to Kansai International Airport estimates, there will be 16 percent fewer international flights in this summer’s peak season compared with last summer.
The daily average of international flights using the airport dropped to 82 in the six-month period through March 31, from 97 in the previous six months, according to the company.
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