MANILA (Xinhua) – Philippine airport authorities have removed the heavily-damaged Xiamen Airlines passenger plane that skidded off the runway of Manila International Airport on Thursday.
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said the runway was opened to flights at noon on Saturday.
“A final extension of runway closure until 12 noon is necessary to give way for the demobilisation of heavy equipment used to lift the aircraft. Simultaneously, clearing the runway of debris and other foreign objects will also be done,” Mr Monreal said in a statement early Saturday.
Thousands of passengers were stranded in various airports across the country following the cancellation and delay of more than 130 flights in all four terminals on Friday. Several incoming flights were also diverted to Clark airport, north of Manila, and Cebu in the central Philippines.
A Xiamen Airlines flight number MF8667 from Xiamen, China suffered “runway excursion” after landing at the Manila International Airport at 11:55 pm on Thursday.
The plane then swerved off the runway and onto a grass safety patch a few meters from the main runway after a “missed approach” due to “heavy downpour”.
All passengers and crew were declared safe.
It took more than 24 hours for authorities to remove the plane from the soggy grassy area where it got stuck, causing the closure of the runway and the disruption of the operation of the Philippines’ main airport.