Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Sendai Airport was back in business as a Japan Airlines 737-800 from Tokyo Haneda landed Wednesday at around 8 a.m. local time. This was the first commercial flight since the airport was inundated on March 11 by the earthquake-triggered tsunami.
With bullet train service to Sendai suspended and partial road closures still affecting transportation, the re-opening of Sendai Airport to commercial domestic flights provides for much-needed additional access to an area hit hard by the March 11 earthquake in Japan. The opening of the airport will greatly ease travel for volunteers and others from Tokyo and western Japan to disaster-hit areas and should accelerate relief activities there.
Much of the credit for restoration of the airport to operational status must go to a team of United States Air Force Special Operations forces, the 353rd Special Operations Group, who have been working to restore the airport for over a month: