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Houston airports reopen as Harvey moves out

[HOUSTON] Houston's two major airports reopened Wednesday on a limited basis, as floodwaters receded and the skies over the Texas city cleared with monster storm Harvey moving to the east.

The two airports, George Bush Intercontinental and Hobby, were to resume operations at 4pm (2100 GMT), after the runways and roads leading to the airport were cleared of water.

No flights were imminent, but airport officials hoped airlines would quickly resume service.

"This is going to be a phased process," Houston airport system spokesman Bill Begley told AFP, adding that domestic flights would resume first.

"We're focusing on this weekend, probably when we're going to see more and more flights at both airports."

Thousands of flights have been cancelled or delayed due to Harvey.

About 800 passengers with connecting flights were stuck at the city's airports as Harvey made landfall over the weekend as a Category Four hurricane.

Starting Sunday, air carriers evacuated most of those passengers out of the airports to Dallas, Chicago or Detroit, where they could be connected to flights to their ultimate destinations.

Mr Begley said fully reopening the airports was part of the city's effort to return to a sense of normalcy. It also signalled to airlines that "it's time to get started," he said.

"I do believe that it shows that we're moving forward a little bit."

Southwest Airlines announced that it planned to resume flights Saturday.