The advisory came via the Phuket Info Center, operated under the Phuket office of the Ministry of Interior, as Airports of Thailand (AoT) have yet to recognise the issue.
The issue was raised by online flights community ‘Wingtips’, which posted that at 3pm yesterday flights scheduled to land in Phuket had been put into a holding pattern.
Citing Flightradar24, Wingtips reported that the Boeing 737-800 serving Shanghai Airlines Flight FM858 had been held in a holding pattern west of Phuket, as it had not been approved to land at Phuket airport.
“Recommended to passengers who have flights to and from Phuket today to check the travel schedule from the airline again,” said the post.
Phuket Info Center reported that AoT Phuket, which operates Phuket airport, had announced an “incident” resulting in aircraft being unable to take off or land due to the runway being closed.
Phuket Info Center noted that the announcement was made at 3:20pm yesterday, despite AoT Phuket not posting any recognition of the delays even by this morning.
According to the “announcement”, the repairs to the runway were to be completed by 4pm yesterday.
However, Phuket Info Center last night posted an update confirming that runway repairs still had yet to be completed. Instead, AoT Phuket was now expecting to complete the repairs today (May 1).
According to the post by Phuket Info Center last night, airport management had been aware of a large crack in the runway for several days, and that pilots had been informed of the safety issue.
Pilots had been allowed to use “Runway 09” since yesterday morning, said the post.
At midday yesterday, pilot were told to use Runway 27 instead.
There is only one runway at Phuket airport, but it has two designations: Runway 09 and runway 27.
Pilots are told to use Runway 09 if they are to use the runway travelling eastwards, and told to use Runway 27 if they are to use the runway travelling westwards.
After the change in direction of use at midday yesterday, one plane managed to take off by avoiding the crack in the runway.
The second plane, however, became stuck in what the post described as a “hole”. Ground crew took one hour to remove the plane from the runway, the Phuket Info Center explained.
During the hour that the runway was closed, about 10 planes waiting to take off were delayed and aircraft arriving to land in Phuket, including from overseas, Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in Bangkok and from Samui, were also delayed.
The ground crew was expected to repair the crack by 4pm yesterday. However, the late arrival of the necessary equipment saw bad weather arrive, further impeding any efforts to repair the runway.
“Heavy rain at the airport again delaying many flights,” said the post.
Phuket Info Center last night pointed out that at that time there still had been no official notification to passengers of delays.
As of midday today, AoT Phuket still had yet to make any announcements regarding the delays.
Taswegian | 03 May 2023 - 06:12:03