Some 300 passengers, some connecting onto international flights, were stranded in Sultan Mahmud Airport here because its runway lights malfunctioned.
Three flights from the airport yesterday evening had to be cancelled.
Two of the flights – by AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines – were supposed to depart for KL International Airport while the other, a Firefly flight, was to go to Penang.
Announcements to the passengers at the airport were made at 9.10pm.
The flights had to be cancelled because three incoming flights – two from KLIA and one from Penang – could not land. The airport authorities had to radio them to turnaround.
Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd in a statement said the malfunction was due to upgrading works at the airport.
It said a cable was damaged which resulted in a malfunction of the runway lights.
“The contractor has been instructed to carry immediate remedial work,” it said.
It said the situation should return to normal by 6.30am today.
A spokesman from the airport, when contacted, said the problem occurred at about 8.30pm just when a flight from KLIA had sought permission to land.
The control tower had to ask the plane to return to KLIA because of the problem.
Many of the passengers at the airport were angry after they were told they had to find other means of transportation to Kuala Lumpur or Penang.
Abdul Karim Mohamad, 35, said he had to rush for a 10pm Kuala Lumpur-bound bus because he had to be at KLIA for a morning flight to Sabah.
“I waited for almost three hours but the airport only made the announcement at the last minute,” he said.
Shanghai-bound passenger, Liew Wee Leng, 45, expressed his disappointment at the situation which caused him to miss his international connection.
“I am not blaming anyone. This is something uncontrollable but the airport authority should have alerted us earlier so that we could make other arrangements,” he said.
It was understood that MAS was making preparations to provide accommodations for stranded passengers.
Source : STAR
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