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03 June 2023

Etihad plane hits runway lights amid zero visibility in Abu Dhabi

By Joseph George

An early morning accident amid zero visibility at the Abu Dhabi International Airport that caused a near-closure of airport for several hours on Monday morning.

The EY45 Etihad airways flight departing to Dublin had to be aborted after it hit the lights bordering the runway.

The pilot mistook the edge lights to be the runway’s centre lights. Eleven runway lights were hit and the flight’s nose wheel burst forcing the captain to abort the takeoff, according to PPRune website. The runway was immediately closed and almost all flights, both departing and arriving into the Abu Dhabi airport were either diverted or delayed.

According to a statement issued by the airport, the incident occurred at 3.19am and the airport began normal operations only at about 9.10 am.

In a statement Ahmad Al Haddabi, Chief Operating Officer, Adac, said: “Flights at the capital’s airport were affected by the closure of the South Runway L31 at Abu Dhabi International Airport due to an incident involving Etihad aircraft, flight EY45 departing to Dublin, at 3.19 am this morning. The incident resulted in the damage of some side lightings of the runway. The North Runway carried out the airport flight’s departure and arrivals and the South Runway resumed normal operation after the completion of safety check.”

Several departing flights were delayed at Abu Dhabi International Airport, as of 3.20 am, and a further 20 arriving flights were diverted to nearby airports within the UAE and GCC, the statement added.

The airport operated on low visibility operations, which was lifted only at 9.10 am.

With very low visibility, (almost less than 20 metres) the tug had difficulty finding the aircraft but was eventually towed back on to stand.

There was considerable debris and broken glass on the runway. The adjacent runway 31R also could not be used until after the daybreak due to intense fog and poor visibility.

Etihad in its statement said that no one were injured in the incident and that an investigation is on to determine the circumstances of the incident involving the Etihad aircraft.

“Etihad Airways apologises to all passengers who have been inconvenienced and is doing everything possible to assist those affected and get them to their final destination as soon as possible,” it added.