Airport and aviation authorities temporarily closed one of the runways of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after a Jetstar plane bound for Japan with 140 passengers and crew on board veered off the runway early Saturday morning.
No one was reported hurt in the incident, according to the Manila International Airport Authority.
The closure of the runway, however, resulted in the delayed arrival and departure of 11 flights, and the cancellations of at least 14 domestic flights of Cebu Pacific Air to and from Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Caticlan, Cebu, Legazpi, Tacloban, and Tuguegarao.
Also at the time of the 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.
“Runway 13-31 was closed for operations early today after an Airbus A320 jet with 140 passengers and crew onboard made an excursion towards the Runway Safety Area (RSA-grassy area) while positioning for takeoff,” the MIAA management said in a statement.
All 140 (139 plus 1 infant) passengers and crew deplaned safely and were brought back to NAIA Terminal 1 by shuttle buses.
Initial reports showed that Jetstar flight GK40 from Manila to Narita, Japan, pushed back from the NAIA Terminal 1 at 2:08 a.m. and headed for Runway 13 for takeoff.
While positioning for takeoff, the aircraft overshot the turn causing the front and right landing gears to veer towards the RSA, leaving the front to get imbedded in the soft ground.
MIAA Fire and Rescue and Operations teams immediately proceeded to the site to assist the passengers and crew.
“With the disabled aircraft blocking parts of the runway, Runway 13-31 is currently closed for operations with the affected flights using the main runway, Runway 06-24 for the meantime,” said MIAA general manager Eddie Monreal.
At press time, Monreal and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines director general Jim Sydiongco were on site personally overseeing aircraft removal operations.
“As of this time, the aircraft is now out of the grassy area and being prepared for towing to a nearby aircraft maintenance center. Simultaneous clearing of the runway and repair of damaged runway lights are now in progress. We hope to resume operations soon,” Monreal said.
Members of CAAP's Aircraft Accident Investigation Inquiry Board were likewise on site to determine the cause of the incident.
Monreal warned airline operators not to take advantage of the situation to unnecessarily cancel flights, causing inconvenience to passengers in the process.
The Jetstar Airbus A320 jet was brought to the Lufthansa Technik Aircraft Maintenance Center.
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