SINGAPORE: About 170 flights at Changi Airport were delayed by an hour or more after an aircraft that was taking part in the Singapore Airshow skidded and caught fire on one of the two runways, Changi Airport Group (CAG) said on Tuesday (Feb 6).
The aircraft from the Black Eagles aerobatic team from the Republic of Korea Air Force veered off the runway onto the grass verge at the side of Changi Airport's Runway 1 and caught fire while it was taking off for a flying display at the Singapore Airshow at about 1.30pm on Tuesday.
CAG said the airport emergency service responded immediately and put out the fire. The pilot was sent to the airport clinic for a check-up and subsequently discharged.
Runway 1 was closed to facilitate investigations by the authorities before the aircraft could be removed. The runway opened at about 7pm after the runway was checked thoroughly and cleaned up to ensure that it was safe and ready for operations, CAG said.
As the airport was operating with just one runway instead of two, flights were delayed. "The staff of the airlines, ground handlers and CAG worked together to assist affected passengers," CAG said in the statement at 10.38pm.
Flight operations are expected to return to normal later on Tuesday night, it added.
Passengers scheduled to depart in the next few hours were advised to contact their airlines or check the latest flight information on Changi Airport's website or app.
"On behalf of the airport community, CAG would like to apologise for the inconvenience and thank passengers and members of the public for their patience and understanding."
Several passengers took to social media to post about delays of up to five hours.
One of them was Singaporean jazz maestro Jeremy Monteiro, who said that his flight back to Singapore from Bangkok was delayed by 3.5 hours due to the crash.
"Relieved to hear the pilot only sustained light injuries," he wrote in a Facebook post. He also questioned: "Why is the airshow practice on (the) same runway as the one being used for commercial flights?"
Some were angry over the delays, such as Facebook user Julie Yuen, who said Changi Airport had "shockingly" poor service.
Another passenger, Chris Low, wrote that it was "coincidental" that his flight was delayed for five hours and most insurers pay out after six hours.
Meanwhile, others expressed concern for the pilot. One Twitter user, Yashas Mitta, who said his flight was delayed more than three hours, wrote: "Hope the pilot is ok. The crash looked pretty bad."
"At least no one's hurt," another Twitter user who posted about a 3.5-hour flight delay said.
The pilot had "light injuries", authorities said.