Recently the Kota Kinabalu Airport was shut down for almost 3 days due to failure of the runway landing lights which closed the airport for night landings. All flights were resumed on October 27. In this case the airport was closed due to human failures. KK airport is relatively small and its closures affected only some 6000 passengers on 51 flights.
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Soon after this incident the Hurricane Sandy struck the NE coast of the United States shutting down several major international airports, including the JFK and LaGuardia in Long Island, NY, Newark in New Jersey and Philadelphia international airport, with cancellation of over 10,000 flights and affecting hundreds of thousands of air travelers both domestic and international, disrupting travel plans and costing millions of unscheduled expenditures. These closures were caused by natural disaster and are of a scale a few hundred fold larger than the KK airport closure of similar duration.
These major airports are now scheduled to be reopened after the hurricane has swept by and heading northward into Canada.
There will certainly be an international uproar if the runway lights at JFK or LaGuardia have failed due to human failures and insurance compensations will be high. In this case the airport authorities are helpless and can be seem to do their best to bring order back to their flight operations. Aside from the inconvenience caused to the travelers the airlines will surely suffer major losses too.
Photo credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk
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