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Chile's Int'l Airport Resumes Operation After Megaquake

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The international airport of Santiago starts resuming operation slowly and will completely go into full operation on Tuesday, the commander in chief of Chile's Air Force of Chile said.

General Ricardo Ortega said that one flight from Lima arrived at the airport on Sunday, but the arrival of the flight "does not mean that all flights will arrive regularly."

There are also flights coming from Miami, New York, Los Angeles and Madrid, he said.

"I estimate that in 48 hours more it will be regularized. The main problem is ... because the electronic systems collapsed," Ortega said.

He said that the terminals and the fuel system of the airport were also damaged. The runways are working properly and that some commercial flights start arriving.

"The procedures are being done for the flights to start arriving by stages, by days, and we are going to set a system, not of first quality but provisional," Ortega said.

Ortega said that they "have all the available capacity" to take aid to the affected regions.

"We already sent a Boeing 767 with 100 troops to the south and our planes operate with normality," Ortega added.

On Saturday morning, Chile was hit by an earthquake of 8.8 magnitude on the Richter scale. A total of 708 people have been confirmed killed in the quake and the death toll is likely to climb up.

(Xinhua News Agency March 1, 2010)

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