Bangkok — The crash-landing of a Thai Airways International flight on Sunday night is causing delays on all outbound flights from Bangkok’s main airport.
Flights should return to normal at 9 a.m. Wednesday after the eastern runway is repaired and the damaged plane removed from the site, said Deputy Transport Minister Gen Prin Suvanadat.
Airport authorities expect up to 30 minute delays on outbound flights and 15 minute delays on incoming flights until the entire runway is back in service.
The landing accident of Thai Airways flight TG679 injured 14 people, 12 of whom have been released from the hospital already.
The plane had arrived in Bangkok from Guangzhou in China at 11:20 p.m. Sunday night, and skidded off the runway after the landing gear failed. There were 287 passengers and 14 crew on board.
Airports of Thailand Plc (AoT) board chairman Sita Divari blamed the accident on a malfunction affecting the plane’s right-hand side landing gear.
The problem also caused one of the plane’s right tyres to burst. The craft then travelled about 300 meters before veering off the runway, he said.
He estimated the cost of damage to the runway at one-million baht (U.S. $), for which Thai Airways would have to take full responsibility.
Some 106 flights were delayed Monday afternoon because of the accident.
The crashed plane has been in service for 18 years, and had its last routine check this past April, according to Thai Airways president Sorajak Kasemsuvan. The pilot in charge has 14 years of experience he said.
He also said the captain and crew did their best to help the passengers, mostly Chinese tourists, after the accident.
Mr. Sorajak defended the airport’s decision to obscure the THAI logo by painting over and branding on the crashed plane as it lay at the site of the accident, saying it was normal procedure.
Separate panels have been set up by Thai Airways and the Department of Civil Aviation to investigate the crash. Image/Reuters