MANILA — The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has extended the closure of the international runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport’s (NAIA) to 7 p.m. Friday, as authorities are still removing an aircraft that overshot the runway Thursday night.
Due to heavy rains, Xiamen Air flight MF8667 skidded off at NAIA at around 11:55 p.m. Thursday, causing the airport’s runway 06/24 closure.
All passengers and crew were safe and were deplaned using the aircraft’s emergency chute. They were assisted by the airline and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) as they waited for Xiamen Air operations to resume.
“The MIAA has requested us to extend the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) to 7 p.m.,” CAAP spokesperson told the Philippine News Agency (PNA) at around 2:20 p.m. Friday.
CAAP has first issued the NOTAM at 1 a.m., declaring runway closure until 12 noon. However, at 8 a.m., it extended the NOTAM to 4 p.m.
“We need to park (the aircraft) to the remote parking bay. We realized this morning that we could not make it by noon, so we had to extend the NOTAM,” he said.
Apolonio explained that CAAP investigators haven’t seen the site yet when it issued the NOTAM at 1 a.m. “So when they were able to assess the situation, we decided to extend it (NOTAM). The clearing operations team needs to remove the aircraft and the debris,” he said.
He also noted that CAAP had to immediately extend the NOTAM to avoid air traffic congestion.
“Because if we will not tell the airlines that the runway will still be closed at noon, they will go here by that time and all of them will be diverted,” Apolonio clarified.
Due to the incident, many international flights were either cancelled or were diverted to Clark.
MIAA Public Affairs Department’s officer-in-charge Ma. Consuelo Bungag earlier told reporters that not all international flights will be affected by the runway closure.
This is because international flights using aircraft type A320 and below can use NAIA’s domestic runway, she said.
Meanwhile, the tail-end of Xiamen aircraft was already lifted to give way for offloading of baggage from its compartment. Authorities said weight reduction will help for faster clearing operations. Ma. Cristina Arayata/PNA-northboundasia.com