Intl passengers at Kansai Airport surge to 300,000 after border controls eased

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
A steady stream of international travelers arrive at Kansai International Airport in October, after entry restrictions were significantly eased.

The number of international passengers at Kansai International Airport in October jumped to about 300,000, about 14 times that of the same month last year, the airport operator said Friday.

While the number of foreign passengers on international flights at Kansai International Airport jumped to about 206,000 from about 71,000 in September after the government significantly eased entry restrictions on Oct. 11, the number of Japanese passengers also increased from about 74,000 to 95,000.

However, the number of Chinese visitors to Japan, which had been booming before the coronavirus crisis, has been sluggish due to the impact of the “zero-COVID” strategy in China.

Both the total number of international passengers and the number of foreign tourists have recovered to only 15% of the pre-pandemic level of October 2019.

On the other hand, a recovery trend for domestic flights has become clear, mainly due to an increase in the number of domestic travelers as a result of nationwide travel support measures that began in October.

Domestic passenger volume at the Kansai, Osaka International (Itami), and Kobe airports totaled 2.1 million, up 70% from the same month last year, the highest level since February 2020 and more than 90% compared to October 2019.

The number of passengers at all three airports was up sharply year on year, with Kansai Airport up 77% to 580,000, Itami Airport up 69% to 1.22 million, and Kobe Airport up 82% to 290,000.