MANILA – The runway 06/24 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport is back to normal operations before noon on Saturday, when the international plane that was stuck there late on Thursday night finally lifted off the runway.
Thousands of passengers were hit and many flights were canceled or diverted because the runway was closed after Xiamen Air flight MF8667 briefly slipped around 11:55 am Thursday due to the heavy rains.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) had issued five Message to Flyers (NOTAM) declaring the closure of the runway, because the team of clearance operations had difficulty unpacking the aircraft.
"The ground in runway 06/24 is very soft, it would be very dangerous to force the aircraft there by force because it could damage the runway," CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio said earlier to the Philippine news agency ( PNA).
Xiamen Air plane was transported to the slope of Balagbag on Saturday morning
] The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), however, requested CAAP to extend the runway closure until 12.00. This was to make room for the demobilization of heavy equipment that was used to lift the plane.
The time was also used to clear the job of debris, the MIAA said.
Meanwhile Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade apologized for the public inconvenience caused by the incident.
"I am saddened by the inconveniences and consequences caused by the Xiamen Air incident," he said in a statement on Saturday. "It is a regrettable experience that is not of our own taste, nor of our own making it, I am sorry, we have done our utmost to tackle the situation."
Tugade said the incident was a & # 39; eye-opener & # 39; had served, and the authorities reminded & # 39; to review the processes, procedures and protocols of relevant agencies. as well as airlines, so that we can all improve in the future. "
He also thanked those who had taken an extra mile to lift the stuck plane.
" More importantly, by this incident, I personally witnessed the dedication and & # 39; bayanihan & # 39; spirit shown not only by officials of CAAP, led by Director-General Jim Sydiongco, MIAA, led by General Manager Ed Monreal, and the DOTr, but also those from third parties who offered their assistance, including the private sector, volunteers and other airports, like Clark and Subic. Again, I'm very sorry for the whole DOTr family, "he said (PNA)