Czarek Sokolowski  /  AP
The Boeing 767 that made a safe emergency landing on its belly is back on its wheels in front of a hangar at Frederic Chopin airport in Warsaw, Poland, on Thursday, Nov. 3, 2011.
updated 11/3/2011 11:32:43 AM ET 2011-11-03T15:32:43

Warsaw's international airport was operating again Thursday after a 30-hour shutdown forced by the emergency landing of an airliner whose landing gear failed to deploy.

Story: Plane crash-lands at Warsaw's international airport, no one injured

The closure cost the airport up to 2 million zlotys ($620,000; €450,000) and disrupted the travel of thousands, airport director Michal Marzec said. He said Warsaw's Frederic Chopin airport usually handles about 30,000 passengers a day at this time of the year.

The airport's two runways were again in use and there was no damage to the surface from the emergency landing Tuesday of the Boeing 767 from Newark, New Jersey, with 231 people on board, said Przemyslaw Przybylski, an airport spokesman.

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The plane safely touched down on its belly after its undercarriage failed to open. No one was injured, and the pilot has been hailed as a hero in Poland.

Story: 'Superhero' pilot: Landing might've been better

The plane, operated by Polish national airline LOT, had ended up close to the intersection of the two runways, rendering both unusable.

Przybylski said dozens of flights have gone through the airport since it reopened late Wednesday after the plane was moved to a hangar. There was heavy fog in Warsaw, a frequent occurrence in Poland at this time of the year, but flights were operating thanks to specialized equipment.

The State Commission on Aircraft Accident Investigation said it was investigating the cause of the plane's malfunctioning.

LOT has Tuesday that the plane suffered "a central hydraulic system failure," that caused all three sections of the landing gear — the nose gear and the two main underwing gears — to fail. Such a complete undercarriage failure was unprecedented for a Boeing 767 and highly unusual overall, according to aviation data and experts.

Spokesman Andrzej Kozlowski said the company does not want to comment further at this point about what the investigation is finding. "It's too early to say," he said.

It wasn't clear when the state commission would complete its probe, he added.

A team of Boeing experts arrived in Warsaw on Wednesday to assist LOT with the technical examination of the plane. However, the U.S. aircraft maker did not want to go into detail about its involvement.

"Boeing is committed to the safety of our airplanes and the people who fly on them. We are working closely with our customer and are on site providing technical assistance," Boeing Co. said in an e-mailed statement. "We stand ready to assist in an investigation if invited by the authorities."

LOT airlines president Marcin Pirog said it would take several weeks of technical tests on the aircraft before the airline knows whether it can be put back into service. Meanwhile, LOT was seeking to lease a plane to replace the grounded aircraft.

LOT officials said that the plane, a 767-300ER model, was 14-years-old and among the youngest in the airline's 52-plane fleet. It underwent full maintenance in March.

Among the passengers who saw their travel disrupted were dozens of rabbis from across Europe who had gathered in Warsaw for the largest gathering of Jewish religious leaders in Poland since the nation's Jewish community was wiped out in the Holocaust.

Poland's chief rabbi, Michael Schudrich, said 83 rabbis got temporarily stuck in Warsaw when they could not leave after the Conference of European Rabbis ended on Wednesday.

Associated Press writer Vanessa Gera in Warsaw contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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