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Kansai Int'l Airport may remain closed for a week: officials

The outside areas at Kansai International Airport, which is on an artificial island in Osaka Bay, remain inundated in this photo taken from a Kyodo News airplane on Sept. 5, 2018. (Kyodo)

OSAKA (Kyodo) -- Kansai International Airport may remain closed for around a week, depending on the extent of damage to its runway and airport facilities, airport officials said Wednesday.

One of its two runways and the basement floor of a terminal building at the airport sitting on a man-made island in Osaka Bay were flooded Tuesday amid high tides due to Typhoon Jebi that hit Japan and left more than 10 people dead.

The airport, one of Japan's transport hubs, is a key gateway to the Kansai region that includes Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo prefectures, and has seen growing numbers of foreign travelers from Asia.

Over 200 flights were canceled for Wednesday, affecting over 30,000 people due to the airport closure.

All Nippon Airways Co. has stopped selling tickets for flights to and from the Kansai airport until next Tuesday and Japan Airlines Co. has decided to add extra flights using another transport hub Narita airport near Tokyo.

On an average day, around 80,000 travelers use the Kansai airport helped by growing travel demand from foreign travelers flying budget airlines.

More than 5,000 people were stranded at one point after a tanker smashed into a bridge linking the airport and the mainland of Osaka Prefecture. Many of them were transported away from the airport by high-speed boats on Wednesday.

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