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Xiamen Air plane skids off Philippine runway, disrupting flights

Stranded passengers crowd the lobby of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport more than 24-hours after Xiamen Air, a Boeing passenger plane from China, skidded off the runway while landing under a heavy downpour on Aug 18, in suburban Pasay City southeast of Manila, Philippines. The accident forced the closure of the international runway and stranded thousands of passengers on international flights. (AP)

Thousands of air travellers faced delays on Friday after a Chinese airliner skidded off the runway at the airport in the Philippine capital, disrupting more than 200 flights as authorities struggled to remove the damaged plane.

All 157 passengers and eight crew aboard the Xiamen Air Boeing 737-800 were unharmed after the accident late on Thursday, according to the airline and airport officials.

The main runway at Manila’s international airport would remain closed until 5 am on Saturday (2100 GMT on Friday) to allow for more time to remove the plane, authorities said. Some 112 international and domestic flights were cancelled and another 118 flights delayed following the accident, based on initial lists from airlines.

The disruptions led to chaotic scenes at the Philippines’ biggest airport, as travellers waited in long queues outside the terminals and at check-in desks. Several passengers expressed their dismay on Facebook. “This is very unfortunate for us who booked the hotel and tours,” said Steph Iligan. “It can’t be cancelled/refunded.” Images of the plane operated by Xiamen Air, a subsidiary of China Southern Airlines, showed it next to an airport perimeter fence with the left wing touching the ground.

Efforts to remove the 43-tonne plane proved difficult, prompting the authorities to bring in two cranes to try to lift it. (RTRS)

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