Jeju airport resumes operations after plane’s tires blow on landing

July 29, 2016

South Korea’s Jeju International Airport said it has normalized flight operations Friday after it temporarily closed its main runway due to a passenger jet blowing its front tires as it made a landing earlier in the day.

A Korean Air B737-900 with 148 passengers on board reported a problem with its nose landing gear after it landed on the resort island. The plane was carrying passengers from Tokyo’s Narita International Airport and landed at 11:57 a.m.

South Korea’s top carrier said the passengers and crew left the plane safety, and there were no injuries. The passengers were ferried to the airport’s terminal on a bus.

On-site inspection showed the airplane may have moved as much as 1 kilometer after the two tires deflated. Authorities said the wheel may have been intact when the plane landed.

South Korea’s transportation ministry plans to open an aviation safety case rather than define it as an accident or incident.

Korean Air also sent its maintenance experts as well as officials from the wheel maker to Jeju to get more details on the case.

Because the plane could not be moved, Korean Air sent in maintenance personnel to change the tires and then used a towing tug to take the jet to the apron area so the plane could be checked more carefully.

The blown tires caused the east-west runway to be closed for over an hour with flight operations resuming after 1:14 p.m.

Authorities said the accident delayed around 10 flights, although it did not cause serious disruptions in the schedules of flights arriving and taking off from the airport.

Passengers on the flight included a mix of Japanese, South Korean and Chinese nationals, and a crew of nine.

“Emergency rescue vehicles came to the plane, and there was some smoke from the landing gear, but most people did not feel the tires blow out,” a passenger said.

Aviation experts said that because airplane tires are designed to “run flat” they usually hold their form even if there is a flat. In this case, though, the tires lost all their structure which caused the plane to lean forward.