Davao airport resumes operations

(UPDATE) The Davao International Airport resumed normal operations Tuesday night after two days of standstill due to a Cebu Pacific plane stuck in its runway.

Operations of the airport considered the gateway to Mindanao reopened at around 8 p.m. Tuesday, the Transportation department said via Twitter, citing reports from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Transportation Sec. Emilio Abaya has earlier said the reopening of the airport had been stalled by Cebu Pacific’s salvage operations for its plane which veered off the runway Sunday night.

“The Cebu Pacific team is very careful in their efforts to tow away the aircraft so it could be used again,” Abaya said in a radio interview.

CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss, for his part, gave the airline only up to 3 p.m. to remove the plane from the Davao Airport before state aviation officials took over.

Thousands of passengers have been stranded in the airport since the plane overshot the runway, forcing airlines to offer land transfers to an airport four hours away.

Cebu Pacific has repeatedly apologized for the accident in the plane, which then carried 165 passengers, and for the disruption of operations in the Davao airport.

“Again, we would like to sincerely apologize to all those who were affected by the Davao Airport closure,” said Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Pacific president and chief executive.

All Cebu Pacific flights to and from Davao will be back to normal by Wednesday, the airline said in its statement.

It has earlier arranged flights via General Santos to and from Manila, Cebu, Zamboanga and Kalibo to re-accommodate affected passengers.

Meanwhile, at least two flights via Philippines Airlines, which also flew via General Santos amid the airport disruption, are expected to land in Davao Tuesday night.

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