NAIA Closed For Heavy Traffic

18 July 2016

Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was closed for Heavy traffic Monday morning causing 28 flight diversions to Clark, most of them international and domestic flights.

Mandatory closure was made after Eva Air's B747-400's was hit by asphalt debris during landing from the asphalt overlay disintegration in the western portion of Runway 06/24 causing fractures to its flaps.

The runway Foreign Object Debris (FOD) caused damaged to the flap of the aircraft which prompted the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) to close runway 06/24 to avoid similar accidents and to schedule emergency repairs at the affected runway. Similar conditions prompted the closure of Tacloban airport a year ago. Runway debris has caused the crash of Air France's Concorde.

MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said the CAAP issued the order to temporary close runway 06/24 for safety reasons and has accordingly issued NOTAMS to airlines. Others airlines that have not taken off yet were put on hold at airport of origin until further notice.

Runway 13/31 remains open for turboprops and A320/A321 departures and landing, but NAIA says that passenger should expect delays because the existing runway cannot accommodate all existing aircraft scheduled to depart and arrive on that time. Some of domestic turboprop and jet flights were likewise diverted to Clark on account of fuel starvation due to long holding patterns.

Initial investigations revealed poor asphalt mix by the contractor which resulted to less bearing capacity and bonding disintegration aggravated by water seepage brought by heavier load of tyres of heavy aircraft such as the Airbus A330 and A340's, and Boeing B777 and B747s landing at the airports main runway. The disintegrated asphalt becomes FOD that was blown away by thrust of big jet engines before hitting a Boeing 747 of Eva Air. The dis-integrated asphalt caused a huge five-inch deep hole with an area one meter wide, and nine meters long, according to Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) sources.

The airport authority said the runway was closed to traffic at 8:30 a.m. pending emergency repairs and construction work that should measure about 4 meters by 19 meters.

Repair works is scheduled to be completed at 10:00 p.m. but runway is expected to be open after curing period about an hour later or between 11-12 midnight at the latest, depending on the progress of the repairs. Runway was opened at 10:45 p.m. with first departure by PAL A321 destined for Davao made at 11:07 p.m. Eva Air flaps was repaired overnight by Lufthansa Teknik (LTP) and has since left Manila this morning.

Irate passengers of diverted flights make their way from Clark International Airport to Manila as airlines opted to disembark passengers. All diverted flights have returned to Manila early Tuesday morning. Diverted flights include those from PAL Express, Philippine Airlines, AirAsia Zest, Cebu Pacific, Air Juan, Asian Aerospace, Emirates, Saudia Airlines, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airline and Oman Air.

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