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Runway dogs hold up planes

SKOPJE, MACEDONIA: TWO PASSENGER planes of Macedonia's national carrier MAT were stacked above Skopje airport until a pack of stray dogs could be cleared from the runway to let them land safely, officials said last Thursday.

A flight from Vienna and another from Zurich were ordered to circle the airfield on Wednesday last week after security noticed the dogs "playing around" on the airfield's only runway.

The plane coming from Zurich was less than one kilometre from landing when the pilot was told to abort and pull up.

"Passengers were upset when they heard the roar from the engines as I pulled up," chief pilot Blagoja Kukulovski told local media. "We were flying in bad weather. To calm everyone down we had to explain the reason. I think they were rather surprised that stray dogs caused this problem."

The two planes circled for 30 minutes around the capital until the dogs were driven off. Airport authorities were checking for any holes in the airport fences.