Working with nature to improve climate resilience at Kansai International Airport

Damage after a typhoon at Kansai International Airport in Japan

The devastation and flooding caused by a powerful typhoon at Kansai International Airport in Japan resulted in all operations being halted for two weeks. The economic impact on the region was estimated to be around 500 million dollars. With extreme climate events becoming more frequent in the country, the airport needed to mitigate future impacts and reduce downtime.

Our solution was guided by the fact that full flood prevention could not be achieved due to the extreme nature of these climate events. We needed to build with nature to ensure that future disruption would however be minimised. We explored adaptation and mitigation measures using detailed simulations of what happened when the typhoon struck. One measure we identified was to use a canal running between the north and south areas of the airport to provide a catchment area for flood water.

The impact of our proposed solutions will reduce climate-related downtime from two weeks to two days and increase the protection of critical assets and priority areas. Through our work, we engaged with stakeholders to raise understanding of flood scenarios which will improve safety of passengers and staff during extreme climate events.