Due to limited runway length of only 1500 meters, small propeller planes like the Bombardier Dash 8 and Airbus ATR 72-500 are the only aircraft allowed to land at the Daniel Z. Romualdez airport.
Added to the dilemma was the prevailing weather condition in Eastern Visayas and the Bicol regions, which prompted airlines to cancel flights in and out of the area.
Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Deputy Director General Rodante Joya said Sunday that the airport’s runway 18, which has a total length of 2,138 meters, was damaged after the Bombardier GL50 executive aircraft was hit by a strong crosswind while taxiing for takeoff from Tacloban on Saturday.
The plane was carrying Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Undersecretary Emmanuel Bautista, Undersecretary Felizardo Serapio, Jr., eight other Cabinet members, and three plane crewmembers. No one was reportedly hurt in the incident.
Joya said the runway 18 threshold was “displaced by 638 meters due to the accident” leaving the airport to use its alternate runway 36, which is designed only for small planes.
CAAP said that the restricted use of Tacloban airport may last until Tuesday evening.
Airlines, aside from cancelling flights due to the runway problem, also cancelled several flights due to bad weather brought about by tropical storm “Amang.” State-run weather bureau Pagasa earlier placed Leyte under signal number 2 due to the storm.
According to the airlines, there are replacement flights ready and that passengers may check their new flight schedule on their websites.
The cancelled flights include the the following Manila-Tacloban-Manila flights:
PAL Express: 2P2981/2982, 2P2985/2986, 2P2987/2988, 2P2989/2990; 2P5681/2P5682; 2P5981/2P5982; 2P5985/2P5986; 2P5987/2P5988; 2P5989/2P5990; 2P5581/2P5582; 2P5587/2P5588; 2P5983/2P5984; 2P5583/2P5584; and 2P5585/2P5586.
Cebu Pacific Air: 5J651/652, 5J659/660, 5J653/654, 5J657/658.