Potholes on the runway at Manila’s main airport saw flights diverted today (Thursday, July 6).
Octavio Lina, operations chief at Ninoy Aquino International Airport said the two holes, both about 30cm wide, were discovered in the morning.
“Even if the holes are small, the plane could land on its belly if the main landing gear hits them,” he told a news conference.
“We cannot take that chance. It would be risky and safety would be involved.”
Smaller aircraft were allowed to land on the airport’s shorter runway, which is mainly used for domestic flights, while the larger airstrip was repaired.
The process took about three hours. Ten international flights bound for Manila were diverted to other airports during this time. Numerous outbound flights were delayed.
The incident was the third time the runway has been closed due to damage this year.
Mr Lina said the issue highlighted the need for major repairs at the airport, which handles about 40 flights every hour.
Manila’s international airport, long criticised for its congestion and deteriorating facilities, was designed to accommodate 28 million passengers a year but handled about 36 million in 2016, officials said.
The airport has long been plagued with problems. In August 2015, we reported how an Australian fell into a two-foot hole in Terminal 2.
Harry Hansen was on his way to the immigration counter when the tiled floor he was standing on suddenly collapsed.
Mr Hansen, who had arrived from Hong Kong, was extracted from the hole by airport workers. He was uninjured.
Then, in April last year, we reported how a ceiling collapsed in the pre-departure lounge. Nobody was hurt in this incident.
The NAIA often tops polls of airports that people would rather not have to use.