Tuesday, 19th April 2016
In Japan Travel News,
Kumamoto Airport reopens to commercial passengers
Kumamoto Airport has reopened after two earthquakes struck Kyushu last week, but passengers can only fly one way.
While commercial flights resumed today (April 19th), damage to the airport terminal means there are no baggage handling facilities or security checks available.
This means that while people can fly into Kumamoto, the planes are departing empty, as the infrastructure is not in place to board passengers.
As many as 18 services are scheduled to arrive at the airport today, including three Japan Airlines flights from Tokyo and Osaka and 12 All Nippon Airways (ANA) arrivals from Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.
While the airport was closed to civilian flights in the aftermath of the quakes, it functioned as a base for search and rescue aircraft and incoming supplies.
Keiichi Ishii, Japan’s transport minister, told the Japan Times that resuming civilian services will “help accelerate efforts for post-disaster reconstruction.”
The first flight to touch down in Kumamoto since the disasters was at 7.40am, when an ANA aircraft with 38 passengers on board arrived.
Among those on the plane were relatives of people evacuated from their homes and others wanting to help by bringing food to the stricken region.
It is no wonder that the terminal building at Kumamoto Airport sustained damage, as it is located in the town of Mashiki, which was heavily hit by the 7.3-magnitude earthquake.
The most significant work that will need to be done to get it up and running fully will be to remedy some of the ceilings that collapsed.
Related news stories:
Japan's regional airports handling 60% more international flights (9th October 2015)
Chubu Airport helps visitors get online with SIM vending machine (30th September 2015)
Narita Airport launches guided tours for transit passengers (12th May 2015)