Japan’s Kansai International Airport (KIX), operated by Orix and Vinci Airports, suffered a 46% on-year tumble in February international passenger numbers amid an intensifying coronavirus outbreak.
Of the total 1.07 million people, the number of non-Japanese travellers passing through the country’s third-busiest airport fell 61% to 542,300, Kansai Airports, which operates KIX, said in a press release today.
It was the first on-year decline and the sharpest drop since September 2018, when the airport suffered typhoon damage.
The downturn will likely persist, given continued flight cancellations so far this month.
“We can expect a further decline in March” due to travel restrictions on a global basis, said a spokesperson for Kansai Airports.
The airport expects a total 91% cancellations of the scheduled 1,220 international flights for the period from 23 March to 28 March, higher than last week’s 76% cancellations.
Last week, the Japan National Tourism Organization said that the number of tourists coming into the country plunged 58% to 1.08 million in February from 2.60 million a year earlier.
KIX, which sits on an artificial island and serves as a gateway to tourist destinations such as Osaka and Kyoto, was hit by a powerful typhoon in September 2018. This led to a 49% plunge in international passenger numbers that month.