Thailand’s Mae Fah Luang airport to reopen as Nok Air jets move

Mae Fah Luang-Chiang Rai International Airport is expected to resume normal operations shortly after, at around 4 a.m. this morning, the damaged Nok Air Boeing 737-800 aircraft was pulled from the soft ground at the edge of the runway, where he had been stuck since Saturday night.

The airline, the airport and the Royal Thai Air Force had worked tirelessly in the pouring rain to move the plane, which was partially blocking the runway, closing the airport. All flights to Chiang Rai were canceled following the incident.

A press conference is scheduled for 1.30pm today at the airport regarding the reopening. Separately, Nok Air will also clarify the incident and its intended solution to affected passengers today.

Officials gave an overview of how they moved the disabled plane, whose main landing gear became stuck in the soft ground next to the runway. A temporary road, paved with crushed stone, was built and covered with steel sheets, from an air base in Chiang Mai, to facilitate the withdrawal of the plane. A crater was dug around the entrenched landing gear and crushed stone was poured in to solidify the ground.

For safety reasons, the fuel remaining in the aircraft was pumped out and an airbag was deployed to lift it, so that it could be moved easily.

The Boeing 737-800 from Bangkok was carrying 164 passengers and 6 crew when it skidded off the runway in heavy rain as it taxied to its parking position on the tarmac to disembark its passengers on Saturday evening.

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