There is a $20 billion airport located in the ocean and it’s blowing everybody away

  • Kansai International Airport is built on a man-made island
  • 25 million passengers travel through it each year
  • The island is slowly but surely sinking

Published on Nov 30, 2023 at 3:58 PM (UTC+4)
by Andie Reeves

Last updated on Nov 30, 2023 at 3:58 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Alessandro Renesis

There is a $20 billion airport located in the ocean and it’s blowing everybody away

The Kansai International Airport has a very unusual location: the sea.

An artificial island was constructed specially for the airport.

It sees a whopping 25 million passengers travel through it each year.

But there’s a chance the airport will disappear completely in the next few years.

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In the 1960s, Japan needed to build a new international airport but couldn’t find a spot that wouldn’t garner noise complaints from residents.

So the country looked for an area where neighbours wouldn’t be a problem: the sea.

Engineers built an artificial island called Kankūjima off the coast of Osaka.

It’s 2.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide and took 10,000 workers and 10 million man-hours to build.

The island is only accessible by the Sky Gate Bridge and has two terminals on it.

Terminal 1 is 1.1 miles long and held the record for the world’s longest terminal for a number of years.

To offset the environmental damage done by building a whole island, Kansai maintains a massive solar farm.

During its construction, sceptics pointed out that such a feat was dangerous in an area so prone to natural disasters.

Since then, the airport has survived a number of catastrophic earthquakes and typhoons impressively unscathed.

But it faces a serious threat from a disaster of its own making.

The weight of the island and the buildings are compressing the seabed silts they’re built on.

This means the island is slowly but surely sinking.

It sunk over 26 feet in just five years, which is 25% more than what the engineers had predicted.

Some experts say it’s got another 100 years before it totally disappears, while others say it’s closer to 25 years.

The country spent an eye-watering $20 billion on construction, a lot of which has gone towards solving the sinking issue.

That’s a lot of money to potentially throw into the sea.

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Andie Reeves

Andie is a content writer from South Africa with a background in broadcasting and journalism. Starting her career in the glossy pages of Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire, Andie has a broad portfolio, covering everything from sustainability solutions to celebrity car collections. When not at her laptop Andie can be found sewing, recording her podcast, taking board games too seriously or road-tripping in her bright green Kia.