Philippine airport closed after runway accident

Philippine aviation authorities shut down one of the country's busiest airports on Monday after a passenger jet overshot the runway when landing during a rainstorm, officials said.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said Davao International Airport in the south of the country would be closed until Monday evening while authorities removed the Cebu Pacific Airbus A320 plane.

The jet, with 165 people aboard, "veered off to the right of the runway" shortly after landing on Sunday night from Manila, the company said.

"All the passengers were safe," airline spokeswoman Candice Iyog told AFP. "We do not know exactly what caused the airplane to swerve, but we are cooperating with the accident investigators."

Civil Aviation spokesman Eric Apolonio said workers on the ground estimated it would take until Monday night to safely remove the plane.

"We do not want to cause any extensive damage to the airplane and the runway," he said.

"There will be no flights to and from Davao until then," he said.

Iyog said Cebu Pacific cancelled 20 flights for the day, while rival Philippine Airlines (PAL) had cancelled 11.

As a result of the closure, hundreds of passengers were stuck at the airport, forcing PAL to offer land transfers to another airport four hours away.

Davao International Airport is the main gateway to Mindanao, the country's main southern island.

It is designed to handle about two million passengers annually.

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