DUBAI Dubai International Airport reopened a runway on Thursday after authorities cleared the wreckage of an Emirates Boeing 777 that crashed and burnt the previous day, the airport's chief executive said.
Paul Griffiths told a press conference that work continued to restore normal traffic volumes at the airport, the world's busiest hub for international travel.
One of the airport's two runways had already re-opened. Re-opening the second brings the airport closer to normal operations.
"We are facilitating as fast as we can the capacity for airlines to ensure a quick recovery," Griffiths said.
Dubai Airport said in a statement that 237 inbound and departing flights were cancelled after the crash and another 44 flights coming into the country were diverted to nearby airports. About 19,000 passengers were affected, it said.
Emirates, which is based at Dubai International, said it expected disruptions to its flights to continue for the next 36 hours. It did not elaborate.
All 300 passengers and crew were safely evacuated from the Emirates plane after the crash, which occurred when the crew apparently tried to abort a landing. One firefighter was killed on the ground.
Flights at Dubai International were completely suspended for over five hours on Wednesday, authorities said - a blow to Dubai's economy, which depends heavily on tourists from around the world and the emirate's role as a waystation for travel between Asia and Europe.
The UAE Civil Aviation Authority said on Thursday that an investigation into the incident would include the countries involved in the manufacture of the plane and its engines - the United States and Britain - along with the relevant companies Boeing, Rolls Royce and Emirates Airline.
Passenger traffic through Dubai International Airport expanded 7 percent from a year earlier to 34.65 million passengers in the first five months of this year.
After Dubai International Airport closed its airspace for about an hour because of unauthorised drone activity, the local Khaleej Times quoted Michael Rudolph, head of aviation regulations and safety at the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, as saying earlier this year that for every minute the airport stayed shut, the Dubai economy lost about $1 million.
(Reporting by Hadeel Al Sayegh; Editing by Andrew Torchia and Larry King)
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