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Massive typhoon closes Japanese airport ‘indefinitely’

September 6, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

One of Japan’s largest airports and a major air link in Asia, Osaka’s Kansai International, has closed indefinitely after a tanker slammed into a bridge linking it with the mainland during the most powerful typhoon to hit the country in 25 years.

All flights to and from Kansai International were cancelled yesterday, with the timing of its reopening undecided. An airline source told the Japan Times the airport expected to remain closed today (Thursday).

The airport, located on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, is Japan’s third-busiest (after Tokyo’s Haneda and Narita) and the 30th-busiest airport in Asia.

All Nippon Airways, Japan Airlines and low-cost carrier Peach cancelled 184 domestic and international flights yesterday, affecting about 27,000 people.

A statement on the airport’s website this morning said: “We are deeply apologies for the approximately 3,000 passengers that are left in Kansai International Airport to be experiencing the inconvenience.”

Pictures showed airbridges at the airport standing above floodwaters that swept over the tarmac as Typhoon Jebi moved in.

Some 5000 people stranded at Kansai were being ferried by high-speed boats to nearby Kobe airport.

The Japan Times reported that the typhoon flooded one of Kansai airport’s two runways and the basement floor of a terminal building. The whole offshore airport facility was closed on Tuesday as howling winds and high waves swept in – and it has stayed closed since.

The typhoon killed at least 10 people and injured more than 300 as it tore through western Japan.

On Tuesday afternoon, the 2591-ton tanker Houn Maru, which was anchored in Osaka Bay, was swept by hurricane-force winds into the 3700-metre-long bridge connecting the airport to the shore.

A tug has towed the ship away, but the only land gateway to the airport has been badly damaged.


Written by Peter Needham

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