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Miscellaneous

Full normal flight operations at NAIA by Wednesday or Thursday – GM Chiong

Cesar Chiong
Photo shows MIAA GM Chiong (seated) monitoring reports. Behind him is CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio while beside him is Bureau Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval. (JERRY S. TAN)

MANILA International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Cesar Chiong yesterday said that the flight operations at the premier NAIA Terminals are expected to be fully normalized either Wednesday or Thursday, as efforts to return to normalcy swiftly began in the late afternoon of January 1.

This, following the restoration of the Manila air traffic management system as a result of aviation authorities having successfully resolved the power outage problem that affected flights to, from and within the Philippines on Sunday, January 1.

As of this writing, asked if flight operations have fully normalized, Chiong said: “Halos. Pero may mga konting flights pa na cancelled due to operational requirements ng mga airlines. Punong- puno kasi mga flights kaya hindi ma-accommodate iyong na-cancel na flight ng pax.”

Chiong also extended his sincerest apologies for the inconvenience caused by the said unforeseen disruption in flight operations and thanked the passengers for their understanding, with an assurance that everything is continoously being done to hasten the return to full normal operations.

Flight had to be either cancelled, put on hold or diverted to, from and within the Philippines on New Year’s Day as a result of technical issues with the navigational air traffic management system for the Philippine airspace which has affected departures and arrivals of scheduled flights.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) spokesperson Ma. Cielo Villaluna said that the total number of affected passengers from their end was 24,000 while the total number of affected flights was placed at 244, comprising 60 percent of the airline’s total scheduled flights yesterday. Cancellations covered the period mid-morning (past 10 a.m.) up to 5 p.m.

From 5 p.m. onward, flights departed (delayed status) up to 2 a.m. on January 2. Today, we are focusing on recovery flight operations into the Manila hub. These are the planes/ passengers stranded in various international and domestic outstations. We aim to complete the return of these flights to Manila hub within the day,” Villaluna said.

“Under normal situations, regional/domestic flights return on the same day. We could not fly back our planes yesterday even with restart of airport operations as per 4 p.m. Notam because flight arrivals are limited to 15 arrivals per hour,” she added.

Villaluna explained that it will take some time to fully restore normal schedules “as we reposition aircraft that had been held back or diverted to other airports and adjust flight timings based on revised clearances in coordination with the local authorities.“

In addition to some delays caused by these adjustments, Villaluna said PAL has had to cancel some flights for January 2, 2023 as it continues to closely coordinate with the aviation authorities on the adjustment of flight schedules and clearances, as the authorities are working expeditiously to resolve the temporary problem.

“This is a temporary situation, and we will take all necessary steps to restore normal schedules and bring diverted flights back to their original destination as soon as possible. As always, safety is our top priority, and we seek your kind understanding and patience as PAL works with the authorities and our service partners to make the best of a challenging situation,” she said.

Similarly, Cebu Pacific (CEB) Corporate Communications Manager Romer Aguirre said that CEB continues to review its operations following the technical glitch in the Air Traffic Management System of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Aguirre added that consequently, CEB has cancelled additional flights and is still working on the recovery of its network and normalizing its operations.

For its part, Air Asia Philippines deputy spokesperson Carlo Carongoy said they are implementing additional flight adjustments through a recovery flight on January 3, 2023, ‘as we strive to normalize the operations in all of our airport destinations.’

“Guests are advised to regularly check registered sms and email for preflight notifications on flight adjustments. This is beyond our control but AirAsia is working closely with government and airport authorities until we fully resolve the situation,” he added.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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