FedEx Express’ North Pacific Regional Hub, located at Osaka’s Kansai International Airport (KIX) escaped damage from Typhoon Jebi, but general cargo operations at the airport will take longer to come back to full operations.
The FedEx facility serves as a key consolidation and transhipment hub for shipments between Asia and the US did not experience any major damage to its facility and equipment, unlike other parts of Kansai Airport which were hit hard by the typhoon and resulting storm surge from Kansai Bay.
In response to AsiaCargoBuzz.com queries, Karen Reddington, president, Asia Pacific, FedEx Express said flooding impacted only the car park area of the FedEx facility and confirmed there are no issues with the facility and equipment.
“We have resumed our air and ramp operations at the North Pacific hub facility at Kansai International Airport,” Reddington said.
Speaking of the situation as of Saturday, she said: “We are working to have our operations returned to normal. We have six inbound and outbound flights scheduled for today. We are unable to disclose operations/flights plans from Sunday and onwards at this point.”
The express carrier did not indicate how it dealt with the airport closure which saw the first operations by passenger carriers on Friday 7 September and FedEx resuming operations the next day on Saturday, which meant a four-day break in its time-dependent operations.
Kansai Airport is also a significant general cargo hub, handling 852,000 tonnes of cargo in 2017 with ten carriers operating maindeck operations, alongside belly cargo, through KIX according to the airport’s website.
The airport noted in an earlier update that the cargo area has been “damaged severely,” saying repairs had begun from the weekend. The airport has also released its ‘Early Recovery Plan’ with a three phase strategy covering passenger operations in the first two phases – with a week time frame from its release on the weekend – followed by phase three aimed at fully restoring international cargo operations, but with no timeline given.
Aside from FedEx the maindeck operators include: Nippon Cargo Airlines (NCA), Air Hong Kong, China Cargo Airlines, China Postal Airlines, Lufthansa Cargo, Silk Way West Airlines, Singapore Airlines Cargo, Sparna Airlines (formerly known as Yangtze River Express) and UPS.
One of the two runways – Runway B – resumed operations after two days while Runway A was badly damaged by the storm surges during the typhoon which also damaged Terminal 1. In an update from Kansai Airports CEO Yoshiyuki Yamaya and Co-CEO Emmanuel Menanteau, they noted that Runway A is now operational with visual approach only.
The bridge that links the airport, which is on an man-made island, to the mainland was also damaged, after a tanker smashed into it after being ripped from its mooring by the strong winds and high waves. The bridge nows sees two-way traffic instead of the alternate one-way traffic in order to mitigate congestion.
The airport’s has Early Recovery Plan details restoration of domestic and international flights at Terminal 2, in phase one from 7 September. Phase two after one week is aimed at restoring partial operation of international and domestic flights from Terminal 1 and full operation at Terminal 2. The third phase sees full operation at Terminal 1 and operation of international cargo flights, but does not specify a time-line.
Kansai Airports Co. also operates the nearby Osaka International Airport – also known as Itami Airport – and Kobe Airport, both of which have moved to take up flights from KIX.