Muscat: A Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) passenger plane with some 107 people on board crash-landed on the runway of the Sultanate's main airport in Muscat yesterday, forcing the cancellation of all flights at the facility for a few hours.
"A PIA aircraft crashed on the runway after its landing gear collapsed," Ali Al Zuwaidi, flight safety director at Muscat International Airport, told Times of Oman. "We had to close the airport indefinitely until the investigation was completed. The pilot reported no injuries among the passengers or crew," he added.
The scheduled Sialkot-Muscat flight, PK25-259 — a Boeing 737 aircraft — crash-landed, tilting towards the left, and the landing gear (the rear tyre) on the left of the aircraft appeared to be broken. The crash happened at around 2 p.m.
"All the passengers and crew are safe. I have met them personally. All of them have cleared customs and have left the airport," Bashiruddin Khan, PIA country manager in Muscat, told Times of Oman.
The PIA has made alternative arrangements for passengers who were supposed to fly to Pakistan on the aircraft. "We are working on a solution. By tonight (Monday), we will be able to make alternative arrangements. Those who have come to the airport from distant places in Oman for their flight will be given accommodation," Khan added.
As a result of the accident, the airport runway was closed from 1:32 p.m. (Muscat time) until around 5 p.m. According to sources, there were no takeoffs and landings during this time.
A message uploaded by Oman Air on its website at around 5 p.m. stated, "The Muscat International Airport runway has now been cleared. Oman Air has announced the resumption of its flights in and out of Muscat. Please keep checking the website for updates."
In a message uploaded earlier, the airline had notified passengers of potential delays.
The airport is undergoing a $7.4 billon extension to expand its runway and terminal building, and according to statistics released by the Air Transport Department at the Public Authority for Civil Aviation, the total passenger traffic through the airport had increased by 16 per cent to more than 7.5 million in 2012, compared with the previous year.
Arriving passengers had risen by 17 per cent to 3,828,403, while departing passengers had increased by 16 per cent to 3,638,685.
Officials have attributed the increase in traffic at Muscat International Airport to the introduction of new airlines operating in the Sultanate, including IndiGo, Ethiopian Airlines, and the United Airways of Bangladesh.
Oman Air, Qatar Airways, Sri Lankan Airlines, and Turkish Airlines have also expanded their services in Muscat.