Travelers looking to leave or get to Guam will have to wait until at least Tuesday, as the A.B. Won Pat International Airport works to get operations back online in the wake of Typhoon Mawar.
Videos of the airport terminal flooding were circulating online throughout the storm. Clearing the area of water was the first priority for airport teams, the Joint Information Center announced Thursday.
Staff at the airport Friday morning told The Guam Daily Post that the public was not allowed back inside, for safety reasons. Parking areas at the airport were damaged. Barriers were blown away by the storm and no one was on duty at the parking security station.
Marly Spencer had booked tickets to fly back home to Pohnpei this week, before Mawar slammed into Guam. She was trying to find out whether that was still going to happen as she stood outside the United Airlines City Ticket Office in Tiyan on Friday morning.
"My two sons left last Monday, so my flight (was) tomorrow. We were going to go for summer vacation. But now (I'm) stuck," Spencer said.
Spencer wasn't the only one. A line of customers who had been unable to reach anyone by phone were at the United office to find out about their flight status. Downed vegetation was still blocking the parking entrance, while the exit was flooded and filled with water.
A sign on the half-shuttered airline office said it was closed until May 30, but staff could be seen sitting outside trying to help customers who had shown up and insisted on getting helped anyway. According to workers there, the office was awaiting word from the Guam International Airport Authority on when the first plane could leave the island.
Runways at the airport remained closed Thursday, GIAA spokesperson Rolenda Faasuamalie said in a statement to the media. Humanitarian and essential cargo flights would be accommodated once all repairs and inspections were completed, she said.
"Our airfield fared well. ... However, our terminal and passenger processing technical systems have been greatly affected by flooding on all floors of the terminal," John Quinata, airport executive manager, said in a statement.
"We anticipate to be able to resume operations and to be able to safely process outbound and inbound passengers in conformance to security requirements with our regulatory partners as soon as Tuesday, May 30," he said.
Passengers are advised to contact their airlines directly for flight status and to reschedule their flights.