Addressing Japan’s Strong Inbound Demand and Ensuring Accessibility for All Passengers
Osaka, Japan – December 20, 2023 – We are pleased to announce the official implementation of the WHILL Autonomous Service on December 18, 2023, in the New International Departure Area of Terminal 1 at Kansai International Airport in Japan. This expansion of services is in response to increasing inbound demand and aims to provide a seamless travel experience for all passengers, including those with mobility challenges.
Providing mobility access and developing an environment that is considerate of seniors and people with disabilities is one of the categories established in the International Airport Evaluation. The International Airport Evaluation is a satisfaction survey of 500 airports around the world, based on questionnaires collected from airline passengers in 100 countries and regions, and conducted by SKYTRAX (UK). One of the many evaluation categories is “World’s Best PRM (Persons with Reduced Mobility)/Accessible Facilities“, based on the results of questionnaires collected from passengers in 100 countries and regions.
In response to the growing demand for travel, WHILL is committed to creating a comfortable airport environment for both domestic and international travelers. Building on the success of regular operations in the domestic flight area, the WHILL Autonomous Service will now be extended to the new international departure area.
Kansai International Airport has been actively working to improve universal services at its facilities, focusing on ensuring accessibility for all passengers. The introduction of the WHILL Autonomous Service in October 2022 marked a significant step in this direction. Within just one year, the service has been used more than 10,000 times, demonstrating its popularity and effectiveness.
The ongoing renovation of the new international departure area in Terminal 1 reflects the airport’s commitment to increasing international flight capacity and improving the overall passenger experience. The WHILL Autonomous Service aligns with these efforts, allowing passengers to seamlessly navigate from security checkpoints to their boarding gates using autonomous personal mobility vehicles controlled by a user-friendly touch panel.
Designed to meet the diverse needs of international passengers, the service offers multilingual support in Japanese, English and other languages. Whether customers normally rely on wheelchair rental or are concerned about walking long distances, the WHILL Autonomous Service ensures that all passengers, including seniors, can move comfortably and without hesitation throughout the large airport.
This initiative not only reduces the workload of airport staff, but also contributes to improving customer service standards by providing a reliable and stable transportation service. By replacing traditional wheelchair push services with the WHILL Autonomous Service, Kansai International Airport aims to improve overall operational efficiency and ensure a positive travel experience for everyone.
As WHILL expands its footprint within the airport, it reaffirms its commitment to innovation and inclusivity, making air travel more accessible and enjoyable for passengers from around the world.
· Operation Start Date: Monday, December 18, 2023
· Operation Hours: Depends on flight operation hours
· Number of Units: 2 units
· Installation Area: New International Departure Area in Terminal 1
· Service Description: Autonomously drives passengers from the WHILL station in the international departure area to a designated boarding gate. After passengers get off, the vehicle returns to its original location unmanned.
· Service Details: For more information visit https://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/service/bf/10.html