MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/Asia News Network) - A plane of AirAsia Zest with 178 passengers and six crew members was grounded in central Philippines after a tyre was found to be deflated.
The Airbus A320 of AirAsia Zest flight EZD351 developed flat tires around 9 am on Sunday just after boarding and loading its cargo at the Tagbilaran Airport in the central city of Tagbilaran. The airline is partly owned by AirAsia Philippines.
No plane could land and take off at the runway due to the stalled aircraft, resulting in the cancellation of at least six Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific flights to and from Manila, a report by the Manila International Airport Authority said.
These were PR 2773, PR 2774, PR 2777, PR 2778, 5J 617 and 5J 618, all on the Tagbilaran-Manila-Tagbilaran route.
The airport was reopened on Monday morning by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines after the AirAsia Zest plane was removed.
The incident happened on the same day that Indonesia AirAsia flight QZ8501 bound for Singapore from Indonesia went missing on Sunday.
"The problem was the flat tires. It happens," Jenny Tan, communication officer of AirAsia Philippines, said over the phone when asked about the incident.
AirAsia Philippines is part of the Malaysian AirAsia group which is now under pressure to search for its missing flight with 162 people on board. AirAsia Zest is a joint venture between AirAsia Philippines and ZestAir.
Tan said the maintenance personnel of AirAsia Zest were able to fix the tire problem on the same day but since the Tagbilaran airport is not equipped for landings and takeoffs after sunset, the plane was only able to take off for Manila at 6:57 am Monday.