Philippines suspends flights, closes airspace due to power outage Reuters

Spread the love


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A foreign passenger wearing a face mask against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) arrives at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines on February 10, 2022. REUTERS/Lisa Marie David

MANILA (Reuters) – Philippine authorities grounded flights in and out of Manila on New Year’s Day due to an air traffic control malfunction that prevented flights bound for other destinations from using the country’s airspace.

About 56,000 passengers were affected at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as a total of 282 flights were delayed, canceled or diverted to other regional airports, the airport operator said on Sunday.

It is not clear how many flights were affected.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista apologized for the inconvenience caused to travelers as the power outage caused by the failure of the Central Air Traffic Control System also affected operations at other airports in the country.

He said that the existing outdated facility needs to be upgraded immediately and a back-up system is also required.

“This is an air traffic management system issue,” he told a media briefing. “If you compare us to Singapore, there is a big difference, they are at least 10 years ahead of us.”

As of 0800 GMT, “the system has been partially restored, thereby allowing limited flight operations”, the Manila International Airport Authority said in a statement. According to the airport operator, by late evening, eight flights were allowed to arrive and eight to depart.

Video clips and photographs posted on social media showed long queues at the airport and airline staff distributing food packs and drinks to stranded passengers.

“Radar and navigation facilities at NAIA are down. I was on my way home to Tokyo FM – 3 hours by plane, but had to return to Haneda,” tweeted one passenger — Manuel Pangilinan, president of Philippine telecommunications group PLDT ( NYSE: ) Inc.

“6 hours worthless flying but passenger inconvenience and tourism and business losses horrendous. Only in PH. Sigh.”

Budget carriers Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines said they will offer passengers on flights on Sunday the option of free rebooking or exchanging tickets for vouchers.


Source link

Leave a Comment