Korean Air A330 overshoots Cebu runway

Aviation Updates Philippines – On Sunday evening, a Korean Air Airbus A330-322 with the registration HL7525 veered off the runway at Mactan-Cebu International Airport (ICAO: RPVM).

Local rescuers observe the disabled Airbus A330 aircraft in Cebu. Photo from Nagiel B. BaƱacia, Lapu-Lapu City DRRMO.

A press statement from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport said: "We confirm that at 11:11pm on 23 October Sunday, Korean Air flight no. KE631 from Incheon, South Korea overshot the runway in a landing attempt during heavy rains at the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA)."

"We are working with Korean Air, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport Authority (MCIAA), and the Civil Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) for the swift resolution of this matter. Updates will immediately be given once available."

The 24-year-old aircraft was operating flight KE-631 from Seoul-Incheon, South Korea, to Cebu, Philippines, when it suffered a runway excursion at its third attempt of a landing.

The flight crew of KE-631 aborted the first and second landing attempts through go-arounds. They eventually committed on landing the aircraft on its third attempt but overshot the runway.

Aboard the flight were 162 passengers and 11 crew members. All evacuated safely and were attended to by medical personnel on the ground, according to airport authorities.

Korean Air President Keehong Woo on Monday apologized for the incident: "I would like to extend my sincere sentiments regarding the Korean Air Flight KE631 incident at Mactan-Cebu International Airport on October 23, 2022."

"A thorough investigation will be performed together with the local aviation authorities and Korean authorities to determine the cause(s) of this event," the statement reads.

The incident prompted the immediate closure of the Mactan-Cebu International Airport's only runway since the final resting position of HL7525 was a few hundred meters off the threshold of Runway 04.

Photos of the crash site revealed that the aircraft plowed through airport lighting and navigation equipment. These factors, in addition to the removal of the damaged aircraft, may cause the runway's reopening to be delayed further.

Airport instruments were damaged when flight KE-631 overshot Cebu runway. Photo from Joy Torrejos, The Freeman.

Due to the closure, some inbound flights at that time were diverted to Manila and Davao.

Given that Cebu's METAR was reporting light rain and thunderstorms at 11:00 pm (UTC +8), the weather may have had some bearing on the incident. Winds were blowing at nine knots and 220 degrees from the southwest. The reported visibility at the time was 8 kilometers.

As of the moment, the official cause of the incident is unknown. The investigation is on-going and the release of the final report will be months from now.