MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - Aviation authorities said Friday it will further delay the reopening of runway 06/24 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport until 5 a.m. Saturday.
This, as authorities wait for two cranes that would help remove the 43-ton Chinese aircraft stuck on the runway.
Xiamen Air flight MF 8667, a flight that carried 157 passengers and 8 crew members from Xiamen, China to Manila, went off the runway due to heavy rains just before midnight Thursday.
All passengers and crew are safe.
CAAP Director General Jim Sydiongco earlier said the initial plan was to reopen the runway by 12 noon, but Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal later announced an extension of up to 4 p.m., and then another extension to 7 p.m.
This, as authorities waited for two cranes to help remove the 43-ton Chinese aircraft stuck on the runway.
In a statement, Monreal said his office issued another extension because the mobilization of the cranes will take 6 hours.
"While this is a positive development, mobilization process takes 3 hours and another 3 hours to demobilize. Aircraft recovery will happen in between. Among others, soil condition, wind speed and lightning alerts are major considerations during mobilization and actual lifting of the aircraft," he said.
Runway 06/24 is NAIA's longer runway used by larger commercial aircraft.
Its closure has led to the cancellation of several flights, leaving thousands of passengers stranded at the country's main gateway.
"We are trying our best to extricate the aircraft as soon as possible kasi po alam natin na maraming flights na naapektuhan (because we know that many flights were affected). May mga flight na nag-cancel because right now 'yung 06/24 ay sarado (There are flights that were cancelled because [runway] 06/24 is now closed)," Monreal said earlier.
"We have an aircraft investigation team on the site since midnight and ongoing siya ngayon (the investigation is ongoing). Part of the recovery is to get that aircraft out of runway kasi sa ngayon siya nagiging obstruction sa operation ng runway 06/24 (because right now it is an obstruction to operations of runway 06/24)," said Sydiongco.
The accident happened as the aircraft landed on its second attempt.
"Initial feedback doon sa Manila Tower, ito ay sumubok once at hindi pinagpatuloy at bumalik ulit (from the Manila Tower, [the plane] tried to approach for landing once and did not push through, and then returned)," said Sydiongco.
Airport officials advised passengers of affected flights to closely coordinate with their airlines for announcements.
They may also check with NAIA flight information at these numbers:
- Terminal 1 (8771109 loc 765 and 2852)
- Terminal 2 (8771109 loc 2882 and 2880)
- Terminal 3 (8777888 loc 8144 and 8146)
- Terminal 4 (8771109 loc 4226)
- NAIA Hotline 8771111.
-- with a report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News