Airbus in the mud

5J Butuan

Saturday morning an Airbus A319 of Cebu Pacific Air got stuck in mud at the edge of the runaway at the Butuan Bancasi Airport (BXU/RPME).

Flight 5J-220 failed to take off because its front wheel got stuck in the soggy ground at the edge of the runway. All 106 crew and passengers were safe and were transferred to the terminal. All flights to and from Butuan were cancelled as the plane obstructed the runway and had yet to be removed. The airport here handles at least six domestic incoming and outgoing flights daily.

5J Butuan
Photo courtesy of

This kind of incident happens very often in the Philippines. Why?

  1. Airports in the Philippines usually do not have taxiways. The aircraft has to taxi on the runway and then turn at the end of the concrete.
  2. A standard runway is 45 m wide, has on both sides a shoulder of 7 m 50 and on both ends an overrun of 300 m. Runways in the Philippines are only 30 to 32 m wide and do have neither shoulder nor overrun.
  3. Butuan (BXU/RPME) is known to be the muddiest airport in the Philippines.

And then, many pilots have only 200 hours on Cessna 152 and  10 hours on a Piper Seneca when they enroll for Airbus training. The A319 and A320 are known to be a bit tricky to handle on ground, especially when the runway is wet.  Experience is really needed.

By the way, have a look on our flight status page and follow the birds. You will be astonished to see what funny pattern they fly over the Philippines.

The 100 passenger haven’t been amused to be stuck at Butuan’s airport instead of arriving in Cebu. 

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1 Response

  1. Barry says:

    If they can’t drive it on the ground, God help us in the air!
    World Aero Data gives runway width as 46 metres (but that may just be the info they were supplied), but with a minimum turning circle of 20 metres surely they should be able to “keep it on the island”

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