Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Plane on runway shuts NAIA, diverts 14 flights

The main runway of the NAIA Airport was temporarily closed Sunday evening after a twin-jet aircraft stalled right in the middle after accidentally blowing up one of its tires while preparing for take-off.

NAIA Assistant GM for Operations Octavio Lina identified the aircraft involved as the Westwind2 twin-jet air ambulance belonging to CareJet, a medivac company based in Guam.

Lina said the aircraft was taking off on Runway 24 at 8:18 p.m. but as it powered-up to gain speed, its left landing gear suddenly blew-up forcing the pilots – Captains Charles Cooper and Toshihiro Shima – to hit full stop.

A brief fire, caused by sparks when the landing gear’s metal rim scraped the runway, was immediately contained.

However, the aircraft recovery team had a hard time removing the aircraft from the runway because they lacked the necessary equipment to lift the airplane, Lina said.

The runway shutdown forced 14 flights to be diverted to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Pampanga and to the Mactan/Cebu International.