24 October, 2022

Investigation started into Korean Air A330 runway excursion at Cebu.

Photo AP
An investigation has begun into the events surrounding a Korean Air Airbus A330 which overshot the runway at Mactan-Cebu International Airport in the Philippines, on what appears to have been the crew's third attempt at landing.

All 173 crew and passengers were evacuated safely from the stricken jet that was operating flight KE361 from Seoul to Cebu at the time of the crash.  According to a statement from the airline "Passengers have been escorted to three local hotels and an alternative flight is being arranged. We are currently identifying the cause of the incident."

Keehong Woo the Korean Air President issued the following statement -  "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.

We always prioritize safety in all of our operations, and we truly regret the stress and inconvenience brought to our passengers.

We remain committed to standing behind our promise of safe operations and will do our very best to institute measures to prevent any recurrence. Our overall goal is for our valued guests to trust that Korean Air will treat them well, and honour us with the opportunity to welcome them once again."

The pilot had tried to land the Airbus aircraft twice in what appeared to be very poor weather, with thunderstorms in the local area reported at the time of the excursion from the runway.  The jet was delivered to the carrier in 1998 and had no reported issues or technical malfunctions.   

A number of things are being investigated, initially by Philippean air crash investigators with input from counterparts in Korea, including why the crew decided to make a third attempt to land after aborting two earlier ones when conditions hadn't improved.

Cebu Airport Corporation has indicated that runway operations shall temporarily open for departures only today, from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.  Airlines for departures shall be in touch with their passengers for the necessary pre-departure and check-in procedures. All passengers are advised to monitor their flights before proceeding to the airport and coordinate with their respective airlines for the status of their flights.