MANILA - Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Saturday apologized for flight delays and the stranding of thousands of passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) after a Chinese plane overshot its main runway late Thursday.
It took airport officials about 36 hours to remove a Xiamen Air jet that went off NAIA's runway 06/24 before midnight Thursday. The incident left thousands of travelers cramped at the airport's departure halls, with many flights canceled.
"I am saddened by the inconveniences and consequences brought about by the incident involving Xiamen Air," Tugade said in a statement.
"It is a regrettable experience, which is not of our own liking, nor of our own making. I am sorry. We did our very best to address the situation," he said.
"Again, on behalf of the entire DOTr (Department of Transportation) Family, I am deeply sorry," he said.
Tugade said the incident was an "eye-opener and a reminder" for the government and airlines to review and improve aviation protocols in the Philippines.
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) initially said that the runway would be reopened at 12 noon Friday but postponed the resumption of operations at least 4 times.
The runway was finally reopened Saturday at 11:28 a.m.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines earlier said clearing operations were hampered by bad weather.