Weather among factors for delaying NAIA reopening: official

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 18 2018 11:02 PM | Updated as of Aug 20 2018 06:34 PM

Rescuers gather near a Xiamen Airlines Boeing 737-800 on a grassy area next to airport perimeter fence after it overshot the runway at Ninoy Aquino International airport in Parañaque, early Friday. Manila International Airport Authority, handout via Reuters

MANILA—The weather, the transport of equipment out of the accident site and other factors delayed the reopening of Ninoy Aquino International Airport's (NAIA) main runway, an official said Saturday.

NAIA's runway 06/24 was expected to reopen at 5 a.m. Saturday but delayed until 11:28 a.m.

Authorities extracted a stalled Chinese passenger plane about 2 a.m. but removing the cranes used onsite and other factors such as rain, strong winds and lightning delayed the process.

"When the process was ongoing, there were rains, the wind was strong. For a time we had to stop because of the lightning alert, which was overhead us," Manila International Airport Authority general manager Ed Monreal said in a press briefing.

"Kaya mabagal ang proseso. 'Yung eroplano may 4 tons pa ho ng jet fuel that’s highly combustible. 'Pag ho nasunog 'yung area na 'yun mas lalo ho tayong matatagalan, may casualty, baka 'yung runway ho natin mas matagal pang sarado."

Monreal apologized for the delay and said he accepts criticism as to how airport authorities' responded to the incident.

"What was important to us was to make sure to clear the runway of foreign objects. Part 'yun ng safety requirement. Kami po ay humihingi ng paumanhin na ganun katagal. Pero ang aim po namin bago buksan ay dapat safe at secure," he said.

"Tinatanggap ko ho ang lahat ng batikos, wala ho akong maasabi doon, they are entitled [to] their own opinion but what is important to us is we did what is supposed to be done. And I’m taking full responsibility."