aviation industry

All Cebu flights canceled after plane overshoots runway

Ryan Macasero
All Cebu flights canceled after plane overshoots runway

FLIGHT CRASH. Korean Air flight KE 631 crash lands after overshooting runway at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

Nagiel Bañacia/Lapu-Lapu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office

(1st UPDATE) All flights in and out of the Philippines' second busiest airport are suspended until further notice as crews scramble to remove the Korean Air aircraft from the runway

CEBU, Philippines – All flights to and from Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) have been suspended until further notice due to an airplane that overshot the runway on Sunday evening, October 23. 

“The incident has necessitated the temporary closure of the MCIA runway to allow for the safe removal of the aircraft. For now, all international and domestic flights to and from MCIA are canceled until further notice,”  MCIA said in a statement Monday morning, October 24. 

As of Monday afternoon, crews are still working on clearing the aircraft from the runway.

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Korean Air plane overshoots Cebu airport runway

Korean Air plane overshoots Cebu airport runway

While the plane sustained substantial damage, none of the 162 passengers nor 11 crew members were injured. 

MCIA temporarily reopened its runways from 4 pm to 6 pm on Monday for departing flights only. In a statement posted on Facebook, the airport management advised passengers with flights leaving Mactan to coordinate with their airlines first before proceeding to the airport if they have a flight scheduled on Monday.

According to a statement from the Department of Tourism (DOT), at least 112 foreigner travelers, 32 returning residents, and 18 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) were on board the Korean Air flight.

There were at least 530 departing international passengers stuck in Cebu due to the airport closures. Their accommodations and meals were provided for by their airlines, the DOT said.

According to an assessment report by the local government of Lapu-Lapu City, the pilots of Korean Air flight number KE 631 attempted to land the plane three times, before crash landing on the third attempt a little before midnight on Sunday evening due to poor weather.

Lapu-Lapu City disaster response chief Nagiel Bañacia told Rappler they do not yet have an estimate when the Airbus A330-300 will be fully removed from the runway.  

Philippine Airlines (PAL) said in a social media post that affected passengers will be accommodated on the next available flights out of Manila and Cebu, subject to space availability.

PAL is offering the following options for affected passengers.

  • Rebook within 60 days from their original flight date, with rebooking service fees and fare difference within the same cabin waived;
  • Reroute within 3 days to an alternative destination, with rebooking service fees and fare difference within the same cabin waived;
  • Convert the unused ticket into Travel Credits for use within two years from the date of issuance;
  • Refund the cost of their ticket.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific is offering free rebooking, conversion to a travel fund, or a full refund for affected passengers.

AirAsia Philippines is offering free rebooking or flight credits for those with flights affected by the suspension of operations in MCIA. Stranded passengers can also avail of hotel accommodations and meals while waiting for flights to resume in Cebu.

Migrant workers secretary Susan Ople has also ordered agencies under its supervision to assist OFWs whose flights have been affected by the accident.

“Ople also directed all its overseas posts to immediately check all cancelled flights to Cebu and provide the necessary assistance to OFWs. All licensed recruitment agencies, through an advisory issued by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration (POEA), were also ordered to assist,” the Department of Migrant Workers said in a press statement.

Affected passengers flying on these or other carriers should contact their airline for updates on flight schedules and rebooking information. – Rappler.com

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Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers social welfare for Rappler. He started at Rappler as social media producer in 2013, and later took on various roles for the company: editor for the #BalikBayan section, correspondent in Cebu, and general assignments reporter in the Visayas region. He graduated from California State University, East Bay, with a degree in international studies and a minor in political science. Outside of work, Ryan performs spoken word poetry and loves attending local music gigs. Follow him on Twitter @ryanmacasero or drop him leads for stories at ryan.macasero@rappler.com