Chiang Rai airport to close until Wednesday after landing failure

Chiang Rai airport to close until Wednesday after landing failure

Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport will be closed until Wednesday after a Nok Air passenger jet skidded off the runway on Saturday night.

Flight DD108, which took off from Bangkok's Don Mueang airport at 8.03pm on Saturday, skidded off the runway during an attempt to land during heavy rain on Saturday. None of the 164 passengers and six crew members were hurt in the incident, according to Nok Air.

The mishap, which was considered by the Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand as a "serious incident", initially prompted authorities to close the airport until 10pm yesterday, a move which affected 15 flights to and from Chiang Rai, or about 2,000 passengers.

But in comments released later in the day, CAAT said the airport will remain closed until 10pm on Wednesday, meaning more flights will be cancelled until the airport reopens.

Transport Minister Saksayam Chidchob said the Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation Committee (AAIIC) will look into the incident.

All individuals involved in the incident, including airline, airport and air traffic controller staff will have to be questioned, said Mr Saksayam.

Nok Air CEO Wutthiphum Jurangkool said yesterday the airline is following up on complaints relating to the incident, most of which were about delayed luggage.

Passengers weren't able to access their luggage for about a day, as AAIIC investigation rules barred the airline from removing any items stored in the jet's cargo hold and overhead compartments.

Mr Wutthiphum said passengers were able to claim their baggage at Nok Air check-in counters at Mae Fah Luang airport from yesterday evening.

Some passengers on board complained on Facebook on Saturday, saying they were forced to wait inside the stricken plane for a long time, which had its air conditioning system turned off, without sufficient explanation from the crew.

Mr Wuttiphum said emergency protocols forced the crew to shut down the jet's engines to minimise fire risk as they could have been damaged when the plane skidded off the runway.

That said, he assured affected passengers will be allowed to change their flight at no cost, or opt for a full refund. Passengers on DD108 will receive a free round-trip ticket, he said.

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