Air service resumed at San Juan, Puerto Rico’s Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) Sept. 24, with nearly 100 total arrivals and departures including military and relief operations, according to FAA.

The agency is supporting more than a dozen commercial passenger flights per day at the airport, which was battered extensively by Hurricane Maria last week, and said it has “implemented a slot reservation system to manage the demand for ramp space at the airport and to safely separate aircraft in the air.”

The mobile air traffic control tower FAA airlifted Sept. 13 to St. Thomas’ Cyril E. King International Airport (STT) in the US Virgin Islands following Hurricane Irma has been temporarily returned to the US mainland as Hurricane Maria approached for the second storm’s assault on the region. But FAA returned it to service in St. Thomas over the weekend to support the relief and recovery missions there.

FAA said preliminary damage assessments have identified a number of critical radars and navigational aids were destroyed or disabled during the storm. The agency is bringing replacement systems to the islands by air and by sea to restore essential radar, navigation and communication services, and a long-range radar in Turks and Caicos was made operational Sept. 25.

“Technicians are making their way to a second long-range radar site today [Sept. 25] at Pico del Este, which is located inside a National Park in Puerto Rico, on the top of a mountain.,” FAA said. “The last two miles to the site through the rain forest are impassable, so the technicians are using chain saws to clear a path for themselves and the replacement equipment.”

FAA was unable to give an estimate for full restoration of service, citing the extent of the damage and the challenges of the terrain where the equipment is located.

Mark Nensel