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Philippines Reopens Davao Airport After Cebu Air Plane Cleared

June 4 (Bloomberg) -- Davao International Airport in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao was reopened after a Cebu Air Inc. plane that veered off a runway blocking flights for two days was cleared, according to transportation officials.

The airport reopened at about 8 p.m., John Andrews, deputy director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, said by phone. The agency took over the removal of the Airbus SAS A320 aircraft from Cebu Air after a 3 p.m. deadline, with the airline agreeing to assist, he said.

“The economy of Davao is losing millions a day because of the two-day closure of the airport,” Andrews said. “We had given Cebu enough time, enough leeway to extricate the aircraft.” Davao is the Philippines’ largest city in terms of land area.

About 100 Davao flights had been cancelled since the evening of June 2, affecting 15,000 passengers, Andrews said. The aircraft “veered off to the right side” of Davao’s runway during heavy rains in the evening of June 2, and all its 165 passengers were safe, the carrier said. Andrews earlier today said it was likely a pilot error.

Cebu Air, majority owned by JG Summit Holdings Inc. fell 0.6 percent to 78.55 pesos, the lowest closing level in a week.

Aviation authorities are investigating whether regulations had been violated and “accountabilities will be made as soon as possible,” William Hotchkiss, director general of the aviation authority, said in a televised briefing earlier today.

Cebu Air was worried that removing the aircraft quickly would worsen the damage, Andrews said. The aviation office can exercise emergency powers and tow away a stalled aircraft, overriding a law that gives the plane’s owner the sole right for removal, Andrews said.

To contact the reporters on this story: Clarissa Batino in Manila at cbatino@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Colin Keatinge at ckeatinge@bloomberg.net; Frank Longid at flongid@bloomberg.net

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