As a result of the damage caused by the strongest typhoon to make landfall in Japan in 25 years, the Kansai airport authority has announced that the airport will remain closed until Sept. 11. Delta’s daily service from Honolulu will be rerouted through Nagoya, Japan to accommodate customers in the interim.
Reservations Sales teams in Japan are working to assist customers with the route changes as crews begin evaluating repair options for the bridge and terminal damage.
The bridge connecting the airport to the mainland sustained damage after a ship impacted the structure, leaving thousands stranded on the island airport. The Japanese government worked to evacuate the airport via ferry operations to the mainland. Wide-spread flooding and high winds damaged parts of the terminal and airport infrastructure, which also prompted the extended closure.
Tuesday, Sept. 4
Typhoon Jebi hit Japan early Tuesday afternoon as the strongest typhoon to make landfall in the island country in 25 years, bringing with it heavy rain and damaging winds that lead to the closure of Osaka-Kansai International Airport.
The storm's powerful wind gusts of up to 130 miles per hour pushed a tanker ship into the only bridge connecting the airport to the mainland, causing damage to the bridge and prompting its closure. In addition to the damage sustained by the bridge, the airport ceased operations following wide-scale flooding from heavy rainfall and storm surges in Osaka Bay.
Hundreds of flights in and out of Japan's second-largest city have been cancelled as result of the indefinite closure – including Delta's daily route from Honolulu.
Ahead of the storm, Delta issued a travel waiver for Japanese stations and Sunday's flight DL277 HNL-KIX was held two hours to avoid impacts from the storm. The KIX airport was reported closed as the flight was enroute, causing the Boeing 767-300ER to divert to Fukuoka, Japan with 124 customers onboard.
"Our Kansai and Fukuoka teams have done a fantastic job, working diligently with limited resources for the sake of our customers and one another," said Jim Davis, V.P. – International Airport Operations. "In true Delta form, the teams did an excellent job in both preparing for and managing the unexpected challenges of the storm."
Following the storm's impact, teams in the airline's Operation and Customer Center quickly evaluated options, adjusting schedules and routes amid the airport closure. Authorities will assess the condition of the airport Wednesday, though train access to the mainland remain inoperable. The airport authority is arranging for alternative transportation to assist the 3,000 people currently stuck in the airport, which is built on a man-made island. There are currently no safety concerns and cell phone service is back up and running.
Teams in Fukuoka worked quickly despite the conditions to secure alternate transportation options and hotel accommodations for the re-routed customers.