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Belfast International Airport incident: Aircraft moved off runway after tyres burst

By Jonny Bell

The damaged cargo plane that was stuck on Belfast International Airport's runway after its tyres burst has been towed away.

Both runways are now back in full service. The incident happened just before 6am on Tuesday with the plane left stranded at the junction between the two runways, causing major disruption with the airport having to be closed.

Flights were cancelled and arrivals suspended. By the afternoon the airport was operating at a reduced capacity with the plane still stranded between the two runways.

The Air Accidents Investigation Branch was notified and sent to the scene.

Graham Keddie, managing director of the airport, told the BBC that the incident happened at "the wrong place and at the wrong time".

He said the freight plane was being unloaded for it to be moved and one runway had been freed up to allow planes to land.

"We are doing all we can," said Mr Keddie, "and we are asking people to bear with us."

By 9am, the airport was opened for arrivals, while departures were expected to be disrupted through the day.

Some flights were allowed to depart, while others were cancelled. Those cancelled include flights to Liverpool, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol and London Luton.

Earlier Alan Whiteside, operations manager at the airport, said using a shortened runway some flights were able to land.

"This has resulted to significant delays to operations," he said.

"After the Air Accident Investigations Branch arrive - which should be around lunch - and give us the ok to move the aircraft we should be able to get operations back up and running."

Mr Whiteside said the plane's starboard undercarriage had been damaged.

Among the passengers affected was 64-year-old Violet Slater from Crieff in Perthshire. She told how she had to wait in a queue for more than two hours after her flight home was cancelled.

But she praised the airport staff who were "fantastically helpful".

"I didn't enjoy joining the queue because I stood for over two hours in the queue," she said.

"When I got through to customer service desk the staff were fanatically helpful, they rearranged my flight for me, gave me all the information they could give me, gave me a telephone so I could try and make contact with family.

"I have no complaints, there was an accident on the runway this morning, no-one was hurt, nobody died. I'm a bit fed up listening to other people having big gripes about very little.

"I was here sadly because of the death of my sister and for her funeral. Maybe that makes you a bit more tolerant of little things that are outside people's control."

The Air Accident Investigations Branch is to investigate.

For the latest flight information is available here.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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