Thursday, April 14, 2011

Sendai: Airport's remarkable reopening aided by U.S. military

A Japan Airlines flight from Tokyo Haneda landed at Japan's once-battered Sendai Airport on Wednesday, marking the return of commercial passenger flights there for the first time since the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.While passenger airline schedules remain limited at Sendai, the service resumption is a striking turnaround for an airport that was seen on video being swallowed up by a tsunami wave just over 30 days ago.

"I didn't think we would be able to restart operations so soon," Shinichiro Ito, All Nippon's CEO, is quoted by Bloomberg News as saying at the airport's reopening ceremony on Wednesday. "The airport was a mountain of debris." Still, Air Transport World writes that Sendai Airport "President Katsuhiko Ito cautioned that the airport isn't likely to fully re-open for at least a year, noting that some facilities are still mud-covered and more debris needs to be cleared."

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