Manila airport reopens runway after hours of closure

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Aden - Yasmin Abdel Azim - Manila: Flights at one of the two runways at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport resumed Saturday after several hours delay after a Jetstar Airbus A320 veered off the runway.

According to airport officials, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Runway 13-31 was reopened at around 12 noon on Saturday after Jetstar flight GK40 was removed from the runway.

Jetstar flight GK40 had been bogged down at the Runway Safety Area (RSA — grassy area) prompting officials to temporarily shut the runway down over safety concerns.

The aircraft, which was bound for Narita, Japan was taxiing along the runway at 2:08am Saturday prior to lining up for take-off when the aircraft, with 140 passengers and flight crew on board, overshot the turn causing the front and right landing gears to veer towards the RSA leaving the front to get embedded in the soft ground.

According to the Civil Aeronautics Administration of the Philippines no one was injured in the incident. Nevertheless, it will conduct an investigation.

Several flights had been delayed by the presence of the obstruction at the runway. The aircraft was removed before noon.

Philippine Airlines (PAL), one of the users of the NAIA, had advised its passengers to expect delays despite the removal.

“Please expect delays in flights as we go through the process of resuming our normal flight departure and arrival schedules,” Cielo Villaluna, spokesperson for PAL, said in a statement.

At the time of incident, three Manila-bound flights were diverted to the Clark International Airport in Pampanga. These were Cebu Pacific flight 5J269 from Xiamen, Cebu Pacific flight 5J580 from Cebu, and Air Asia flight Z2889 from Seoul. All three flights are now in Manila.

Flight operations in NAIA continue notwithstanding the temporary closure of Runway 13/31 to flight movements.

As of 10am, a total of eleven flights were delayed due to the incident

The incident was similar to that which happened last August 2018 when a Xiamen Air flight caused massive disruptions at the NAIA.

The Xiamen Air flight Boeing 737-800 skidded off the runway while landing during heavy rains at NAIA runway 06/24. All 157 passengers and crew in the flight were safe despite damaging one of its engines. The incident had caused massive flight delays as operations were suspended for 32 hours.

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