Tacloban airport shuts down to have damaged runway repaired
TACLOBAN CITY, Leyte, Philippines — The operation of the Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport in this city was closed down Wednesday afternoon to have defective portions of its runway repaired.
The cracks on the runway caused a Cebu Pacific plane from Manila to get stuck when it hit the soft portion of the runway after it landed at 2:20 p.m.
The plane managed to taxi and park at its designated area. Nobody was hurt in the accident.
Antonio Alfonso, general manager of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), canceled all incoming and outgoing flights on Wednesday afternoon due to the damaged runway. Seven flights were affected by the cancellation.
He said the operations of the airport would resume at 6 a.m. on Thursday.
CAAP manages the biggest and main airport in Eastern Visayas.
Alfonso said he asked the BM Construction, which has been undertaking the improvement of the airport, to “remove and replace with fresh asphalt” the affected area.
Alfonso said that about 120 linear meters with a meter in width were affected in the accident. The length of the DZR Airport runway is 2,138 meters.
Alfonso declined to say why there was a soft portion at the airport’s runway.
At least 638 meters of the runway had to be repaired after the airport was devastated by storm surges spawned by supertyphoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) in November 2013.
But the rehabilitation had to be done in phases because it meant limiting the use of the runway to smaller planes.
The repair on 300 meters was finished last February although it was stopped twice to accommodate the influx of passengers for the holiday season and the historic Pope Francis visit to Leyte that attracted close to 200,000 visitors last January.
On April 14, the operations of the airport were limited to smaller planes to repair the remaining 338 meters of the runway.
The full operation resumed on May 7 when the runway repair was completed.
This is to correct an earlier version of this story which traced the closure of the airport due to a commercial airline getting stuck in the runway. The truth is the airline actually was a victim of the damaged runway that could have proved tragic to the passengers.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.