82 flights delayed after cargo plane breaks down

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 22 September, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 22 September, 2010, 12:00am

At least 82 inbound and outbound flights were delayed last evening after a cargo plane broke down and blocked one of the two runways at Chek Lap Kok airport.

A Kazakh-bound Air Cargo Germany plane was grounded by a mechanical fault just before take-off at 6pm, an Airport Authority spokeswoman said.

She could not say when the runway would be cleared.

She said the remaining runway was operating normally and could handle about 30 flights an hour.

By 9pm, 51 outbound and 31 inbound flights had been affected.

Some outbound flights were delayed for as long as 70 minutes.

A Hong Kong Express flight UO192 scheduled to take off for Taichung at 8.25pm was cancelled because it would not have arrived at the Taiwanese city before the airport closed at 11pm. Passengers were provided accommodation at a hotel.

A maintenance team from the Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Company worked on the grounded Boeing 747 airliner. Fire engines were also on standby.

The airport spokeswoman said the authority's emergency centre had been activated and would co-ordinate matters relating to the runway closure.

A spokesman for the German cargo carrier said there were technical problems with the aircraft but did not provide further details.

She did not know whether the cargo had to be unloaded from the plane.

A woman passenger said her plane hovered in the air for 30 minutes after the captain announced the closure of the runway.

Another arriving passenger said he also experienced a similar delay in his flight.

Passengers have been advised to check the status of their flights at the airport or on airline websites before leaving home.