A Jetstar aircraft has been pulled to safety after getting stuck in soft mud at Manila International Airport. The aircraft was on its way to Narita in Japan when the incident occurred forcing the closure of one of the airport’s runways. We take a look at what happened.
Just after 02:30 local time in Manila on 14th December 2019, a Jetstar Japan Airbus A320 came into trouble after overshooting a turn on the runway. The aircraft was positioning for takeoff when the incident occurred. Upon turning, the aircraft missed the edge of the runway and the front gear sunk into soft ground, after which it was unable to move.
As a result, the crew was forced to evacuate the 140 passengers on flight GK40 and return them to the airport. Thankfully, no one was harmed.
However, the episode did cause a fair amount of disruption. With the aircraft blocking a portion of the runway, officials were compelled to close Runway 13/31 until the issue could be solved. This stopped a number of other flights leaving Manila International in the early hours of this morning.
But whilst the runway was closed for several hours, it was reopened again before the afternoon. Flights have now resumed.
At the time, the Director-General of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and the General Manager at Manila International Airport told the Manila Bulletin:
“As of this time, the aircraft is now out of the grassy area and being prepared for towing to a nearby aircraft maintenance center…Simultaneous clearing of the runway and repair of damaged runway lights are now in progress.”
— Breaking Aviation News (@breakingavnews) December 14, 2019
How do you dislodge an aircraft from mud?
Well, the details on exactly how the aircraft was pulled from the mud are still elusive. We contacted Jetstar for more information but it was unavailable for comment at the time of publication.
However, dislodging aircraft is not all that uncommon. Just last week a Delta Air Lines CRJ-900 was also pulled from the mud after landing in Buffalo. And that’s not the first instance of such an event either.
There are various ways to remove an aircraft from the soft ground depending on the severity of the issue. Whilst uncommon, it is possible to use cranes but inflated airbags can also be another way to raise the aircraft and push it to safety.
Whichever option was used at Manila International appears to have been swift. The incident caused nothing more than a few hours of disruption, despite the fact that around 11 flights were canceled.
Where is the aircraft now?
The aircraft involved in the incident is registered JA13JJ and is now under maintenance at the Lufthansa Technik Aircraft Maintenance Center. It is unclear what damage was sustained and how long it will take to fix the aircraft.
According to Air Fleets, JA13JJ is a six and a half-year-old A320-200 which first came to Jetstar back in 2013. It makes up a fleet of 25 A320-200 aircraft belonging to Jetstar Japan. The airline first began operations in 2012.
Have you ever been affected by an aircraft stuck in the mud? Let us know in the comments below!