A runway at Hong Kong International Airport that had been closed since morning delaying dozens of flights reopened on Monday afternoon after a damaged cargo plane was removed, the airport said.

One of the airport's two runways closed after an Atlas Air cargo plane made an emergency return to the airport after taking off in the early morning, and burst a tyre on landing.

A problem with the plane's hydraulic system prevented it from being moved for several hours, an airport statement said.

The north runway re-opened at 3:45 pm local time, it said.

Some 186 flights were delayed as a result, Hong Kong Airport said.

The Atlas Air cargo plane bound for Anchorage, Alaska took off from the airport at about 4 a.m. on Monday (2000 GMT on Sunday) before returning and landing less than four hours later, flight tracking data from FlightRadar24 shows.

The Boeing 747 freighter was flying over Taiwan when it turned back to Hong Kong, the tracking data showed.

U.S.-headquartered Atlas Air did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reporting by Lisa Barrington in Seoul; editing by Jamie Freed and Jason Neely)