Moves are afoot to change regulations in order to make Kobe Airport—one of the three airports in the Kansai region—into an International airport, taking some of the traffic pressure off of Kansai International Airport in the run-up to the 2025 World Expo at Yumeshima, Osaka.
The urgency of opening up at least one of the other two local airports to international flights was also demonstrated by the major typhoon last September, which temporarily closed Kansai International Airport completely, and reduced the number of flights that it could handle for weeks afterward.
However, it is acknowledged that a considerable amount of work will be needed to improve Kobe Airport’s terminal and other facilities before it can be fully accepted as an international airport.
In a related matter, Hyogo Governor Toshizo Ido told a plenary session of his prefectural assembly in February that he supported the concept of creating a direct sea link between the Kobe Airport area and Yumeshima, as originally proposed by Kobe Mayor Kizo Hisamoto.
Itami Airport, the third airport in the Kansai, is less likely to become an international airport due to aircraft noise issues that are difficult to solve.