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RUNWAY REOPENS | Manila airport resumes operations after plane accident
March 30, 2020 , 08:31 AM

March 30, 2020, – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the Manila international airport resumed normal operations after a nine-hour closure due to an aircraft that caught fire and killed all eight people on board, a spokesman said on Monday.

Eric Apolonio told a radio interview the airport’s runway was re-opened at 5 a.m. after clearing the debris to allow limited international flights to land and take off as aircraft accident investigators continued its inquiry into the cause of the accident.

Only one flight, a Korean Airlines, was affected by the closure and diverted to Clark.

“We’re still trying to determine what cause the accident, it will take some time to complete it,” Apolonio said, adding the aircraft, a West Wind 24, was airworthy as airport general manager Ed Monreal warned they could ground the entire fleet of Lion Air Inc., operator of the ill-fated corporate plane serving as an air ambulance.

He said the aircraft was on a medical evacuation mission to Haneda airport in Japan on Sunday night when it caught fire as it was about to take off at runway 24 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airpot at 8 p.m.

A Canadian and his Filipino-American wife were killed along with six crew – two pilots, a flight engineer, a flight mechanic, a doctor and a nurse.

Airport firefighters were able to douse the flames with chemical foam just minutes after the accident.

The airport tower noticed something was wrong because the light aircraft took a longer time to take off the 3,700-meters runaway before it caught fire at the end of the runway.

The airport was only using a single runway because the other shorter runway was used as a parking area for dozens of aircraft after many carriers, including Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, stopped operations due to the corona virus pandemic.

Last year, another Lion Air Inc. air ambulance, a King Air, crashed in Laguna, killing all nine people on board.

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