OSAKA – The number of foreign passengers on international flights using Kansai International Airport surged 55 percent from a year earlier to 1.93 million in the April-September first half, hitting a record high for the six-month period.
The rise was attributable to increased flights by major airlines to China and South Korea and the inauguration of flights by low-cost carriers, according to New Kansai International Airport Co., which runs the airport.
In September, however, the year-on-year growth in the number of foreign passengers slowed to 23 percent to 270,920 due to the tension between Japan and China amid the festering Senkaku Islands dispute.
Keiichi Ando, president of the airport operator, said Monday the number of both Japanese and foreign travelers on international flights may be 5 to 6 percent lower than expected in the October-March second half of fiscal 2012.
He added that the number of passengers on flights linking China may be 25 to 30 percent lower than expected in the second half.
The number of both arrivals and departures of international flights at the airport in the first-half period rose 16 percent from a year earlier to 43,320, the highest ever for the six-month period, the operator said.
Spring Air to Shanghai
New Kansai International Airport Co. President Keiichi Ando Spring Airlines, a Chinese budget carrier, will begin services linking Shanghai and Kansai International Airport by March.
Spring Airlines plans to operate seven round-trip flights per week between Shanghai and the airport off Osaka, according to the operator of the Kansai airport.
The number of international flights from Kansai will rise to 853 per week in March, a record high for winter, according to the airport’s flight operation schedule from Oct. 28 to March 30, which was released Monday.
Of the 853 flights, 134 will be operated by low-cost carriers, the highest figure for any airport in Japan and up 87 from a year earlier.
The operation schedule also shows that the number of commercial flights flying to China will rise by only five from last winter to 209 amid the territorial row over the Senkaku Islands.
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