Commercial traffic had been suspended on Saturday, November 24, following the runway excursion of a plane of the freight company West Atlantic UK, whose nose had ended up in the pond of Mauguio.
Air traffic is gradually resuming at Montpellier airport since Monday afternoon, the airport management announced. Traffic had been suspended on the Montpellier platform since Saturday, following the runway overrun of a Boeing 737 of the cargo company West Atlantic UK. This company usually operates its landings every night at the same time, but on Saturday, September 24 at 2:36 am, the plane ended its run in the pond of Mauguio, located at the end of the runway, with the nose partly submerged. The three people who were present on board are unharmed.
Two giant cranes to free the plane
To free the plane, it was necessary to use two giant cranes to lift it, rotate it, and then tow it to the outskirts of a hangar where it will remain immobilized for the time of the investigation, by the Bureau of Investigation and Analysis for the Safety of Civil Aviation (BEA). It was then necessary to examine the runway to assess whether the accident had not caused any material damage, especially on the pavement.
A hundred flights canceled and 10,000 to 15,000 passengers affected
Since Saturday, a hundred flights and between "10,000 and 15,000 passengers" have been affected by the suspension of activity following the runway overrun, said Emmanuel Brehmer, director of the airport. During the closure, the Air France-KLM group chose to transport its passengers by coach to Marseille airport, while other airlines operating at the airport generally preferred to cancel their flights until commercial traffic reopened. The cost to the airport management company of the two and a half day suspension is not yet fully assessed, but it has come at a bad time, since, like other regional airports, Montpellier had been hard hit by the period of near inactivity related to the Covid-19 crisis. Nevertheless, let's remember that this kind of runway overrun, even if it can be impressive, is relatively common around the world and usually does not cause casualties, as in this case.
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