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Wed 15 Jan 2014 01:58 PM

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Emergency landing prompts Madinah airport upgrade

Second runway to be opened year-round after emergency landing on Jan 5 injured 29 passengers

Emergency landing prompts Madinah airport upgrade
(Photo for illustrative purposes only)

Madinah airport’s second runway, usually reserved for the peak Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage periods, will be opened year-round and extended following a recent incident that caused the airport to come to a standstill.

Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport was forced to close down for 36 hours and cancel 120 domestic and international flights on January 5 after a plane operated by Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) made an emergency landing, injuring 29 people.

The aircraft, which suffered damage to its right wing, was stuck on the airport’s only operating runway.

The airport’s second runway is only used between July and November to cater for the influx of passengers travelling to the Islamic holy city for Ramadan and Hajj.

General Authority of Civil Aviation spokesman Khalid Al-Khaibari said it would be extended from 3850m long and 45m wide to 4250m long and 60m before being opened year-round, Arab News reported.

The upgraded runway would be able to accommodate larger aircraft including the A380, helping to boost passenger numbers.

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