Kansai airport to reopen runway flooded in typhoon Friday

Kansai international airport staff prepare for the partial reopening of Terminal 1 on Friday. (Kyodo photo)

OSAKA: The president of the operator of Kansai international airport said on Thursday a runway at the main international gateway to western Japan, which was flooded in a powerful typhoon earlier this month, will reopen on Friday.

The airport on a man-made island in Osaka Bay plans to resume 38 domestic and 98 international flights, equivalent to 34% of services prior to the disaster, the operator said.

Yoshiyuki Yamaya, president of Kansai Airports, announced the plan at a press conference on Thursday evening.

As Typhoon Jebi passed through western Japan on Sept 4, one of the airport’s two runways and a terminal building were flooded by high tides, while a tanker ship smashed into the sole bridge connecting the airport with the mainland, severing half of its lanes and stranding an estimated 8,000 people at the airport at one point.

The airport operator said it aims to reopen the northern part of the flooded terminal building, where power has not been restored, by Sept 21.

Railway services on the bridge will also likely resume on the same day if no significant damage is found, according to the rail operator.

The airport has partially reopened with flights at around 20% of the pre-typhoon level, as most airlines had been using the flooded Terminal 1.

Kansai airport has attracted a growing number of foreign passengers in recent years, particularly those from China, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries. It was used by around 80,000 passengers a day on average before the disaster.

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