The American Association of Airport Executives is teaming with Airports Council International-North America, ACI World and ACI Asia-Pacific in creating a relief fund to help airport industry colleagues from the Sendai, Japan, area.
Additionally, ACI-NA President and CEO Greg Principato has had discussions with the U.S. State Department to let government officials know airport industry personnel are willing to contribute time and resources to help Japan and the country’s airports recover from last week’s natural disasters.
Principato told ARN he has heard from several industry colleagues wondering how they could chip in to help efforts in Japan.
“It’s human nature,” he says. “It’s a great industry that way. People are anxious to help. It’s just tough to know right now how to do it.”
Given the nuclear fallout and the ongoing aftershocks, it is difficult to know when and where people will be able to help, he adds.
Vivian Fung, a spokeswoman for ACI Asia-Pacific, says only a few of the 98 airports in Japan overseen by the Civil Aviation Department reported damage to their facilities. And as of Thursday, only Sendai (SDJ) is suspending scheduled operations, she says.
Efforts to conserve power in Japan are not affecting Tokyo’s Narita (NRT) and Haneda (HND), though the airports are carrying out some measures at their terminal voluntarily, Fung says. According to the NRT website, several modes of public transportation are operating and planes are flying in and out of the airport.
Principato says several smaller commercial airports suffered devastating damage and may not be able to open for a while.
SDJ, located about eight miles from Sendai, and many others had closed in the wake of the major earthquake March 11 and the following tsunami that triggered nuclear power plant disasters, left thousands dead and caused widespread property damage.