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MIAA chief seeks flying public’s understanding during lightning alerts at NAIA

Eric Jose Ines
MIAA general manager Eric Ines asks for understanding during lightning alerts. (JERRY S. TAN)

WITH the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announcement of the start of rainy season on May 29, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) again seeks the understanding and cooperation of the flying public when flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are briefly halted owing to bad weather and lightning strikes.

MIAA general manager Eric Ines also urged airline operators to make announcements onboard aircraft when they are held on the ground or while enroute to NAIA, ensuring passengers are kept informed about the situation.

The airport chief said that following the said announcement from PAGASA, significant rains and thunderstorms are thus expected nationwide.

“Coincidentally, on that same day, NAIA experienced six lightning alerts, each averaging one hour and two minutes. Notably, on May 17, a total of 12 lightning alerts were reported in a single day. In these situations, the MIAA Airport Ground Operations and Safety Division (AGOSD) issues a Lightning Red Alert, leading to a temporary suspension of all flight and ground movements at the ramp. Operations will remain on hold until the alert is downgraded to Yellow, signaling that flight operations can resume,” said Ines.

“Airports worldwide adopt their respective lightning alert level systems to protect the lives of airport workers at the ramp. NAIA also has its own. Apart from the lightning alert system and for their added protection, we also have lightning shelters around the ramp area where workers can seek cover when a lightning red alert is issued, ” Ines added.

The airport manager said that commercial airplanes now have conducting paths throughout the aircraft that can withstand and protect it from a lightning strike.

In another development, Ines announced that NAIA is equipped with 20 lightning arresters strategically located around the ramp area. These equipment are designed to protect electrical and telecommunication facilities from power surges brought about by lightning strikes. The arresters capture and direct lightning surges safely to the ground.

“While the convenience and protection of our passengers remain our paramount concern, equally important are the lives of ramp workers who make things happen in flight operations,” Ines explained.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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