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Osaka's Kansai airport reopens runway flooded in typhoon

Osaka, Japan | Fri, September 14, 2018 | 11:24 am
Osaka's Kansai airport reopens runway flooded in typhoon

Passengers board the first airplane after Kansai airport reopened in Izumisano city, Osaka prefecture on September 7, 2018. Japan's Kansai airport reopened partially on September 7 after a massive typhoon flooded parts of the transport hub and swept a tanker onto the only bridge connecting it to the mainland. (AFP/File)

A runway at western Japan's major international airport reopened Friday after being closed for 10 days due to flooding caused by a powerful typhoon earlier this month.

Kansai International Airport, which sits on a manmade island in Osaka Bay, plans to resume around 40 domestic and 80 international services, equivalent to around 30 percent of the hub's pre-typhoon traffic.

Typhoon Jebi passed through western Japan on Sept. 4 bringing storm tides that flooded one of the airport's two runways and the No. 1 terminal building used by most airlines and typically servicing about 400 flights daily.

The storm broke a tanker ship from its moorings and sent it crashing into the sole road and rail bridge connecting the airport with the mainland, causing major damage and stranding an estimated 8,000 passengers and staff at the airport.

Read also: Tourist industry worries as Osaka hit hard by typhoon

The airport operator expects to continue steadily increasing flights, restoring traffic to around 50 percent of normal by next Thursday.

The following Friday, it aims to reopen the northern part of the flooded terminal building. On the same day, rail services across the damaged bridge will also likely resume, if no significant damage is found, according to the rail operator.

The airport partially reopened on Friday, Sept. 7, with traffic at around 20 percent of pre-typhoon levels.

In recent years, Kansai airport has drawn a growing number of foreign travelers, particularly from China, South Korea and Southeast Asian countries. The facility was used by around 80,000 passengers a day on average before the disaster.