MIAA to slap initial bill of P15 million on Xiamen Airways for runway incident mess

The stranded Xiamen Air B737-800 (Photo by Recto Mercene)

NO less than P15 million. That’s the initial bill that Philippine authorities will slap on

Xiamen Airways for damages and expenses incurred when one of its planes skidded on the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) runway, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights and the stranding of thousands of passengers.

The general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Ed Monreal, said on Tuesday, “All we spend in the recovery of the plane and damages will be charged to the Xiamen operator.”

“The P15 million is just an initial estimate, Monreal added, saying “we are still looking for other damages on the runway and penalties while airport operations officials are finalizing their report that will be submitted to me.”

He said MIAA spent around P4 million renting the crane used to lift the Boeing 737 from the muddy ground where it got stuck after skidding off the runway when it attempted a second landing in heavy rain before midnight of August 17.

Estimates are, meanwhile, also being made of the landing and take-off fees forgone with the cancellation of more than 200 flights and the diversion of 17 others to Clark and Cebu Airport.

Monreal said other airlines may file separate cases against Xiamen Air to recover their own losses.

The pilot of Xiamen Airways flight MF8667 attempted to land during a heavy downpour but decided to abort.

On his second attempt he landed on runway 24 under heavy rain and poor visibility, but the plane bounced and suddenly swerved out of the runway, running over runway edge lights, the CAAP said in its initial report.

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Recto L. Mercene, graduate BS Journalism, Lyceum of the Philippines. First prize winner, News Photojournalism, by Confederation of Asean Journalists, Bangkok, Thailand; second prize winner, Art and Photojournalism Award; San Miguel Corporation. Former Air Traffic Controller and private pilot. Colombo scholarship grantee: Hurn College of Air Traffic Control, Bournemouth, United Kingdom.