The crash of a Xiamen Airlines jet resulted in the cancellation of at least 67 local and international flights on Friday
Flights by UAE carriers Emirates airline and Etihad Airways flying to and from Manila experienced delays and cancellations after a Xiamen Airlines jet skidded off the runway while landing at Ninoy Aquino International airport on Thursday night.
The incident forced airport authortities to close the main runway for 36 hours.
An Emirates spokesperson said flights were affected on Thursday evening when the incident occurred, and on Friday.
Emirates flight EK336 from Dubai to Manila on August 16 was diverted to Clark International Airport following the closure of the runway. It also led to the cancellation of Emirates’ three flights to Manila on Friday, August 17.
While operations are now back to normal for Emirates, Etihad Airways said its flights are still subject to delays, with the airport being heavily congested, despite both runways now operational.
The Abu Dhabi carrier advised guests who booked flights to and from Manila to call the Etihad Airways Contact Centre at +971 (0) 2599 0000 for up-to-date information.
"Etihad Airways is assisting guests booked on these flights with their travel arrangements," an Etihad spokesperson told Arabian Business.
"We apologise for any inconvenience that this has caused, and we remain committed to offering the highest level of service to our guests."
It took the crew of Chinese Xiamen Airlines nearly 24 hours to remove the plane, resulting in the cancellation of at least 67 local and international flights on Friday, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines spokesman Eric Apolonio told AFP.
The runway remained closed until 5:00am on Saturday, as two cranes were used to lift the plane.
The airport received backlash from travellers on social media. One user said in a tweet: “The roads are at a standstill and the main runway at (the airport) is closed. Inept and incompetence at its finest. Welcome to the Philippines.”
Apolonio said recent heavy rains had softened the ground around the runway, making it harder to lift the aircraft.
In a statement, Xiamen Airlines said the crew immediately initiated emergency evacuation procedures at the time of the crash, managing to avoid serious injuries among the 157 passengers and eight crew on board.
Four people suffered “superficial” scratches while evacuating the airplane.
The Boeing 737-800 had skidded off the runway as it attempted to land for the second time, leading it to lose its left engine. The main cause of the incident remains under investigation.