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PAL, CEB and AirAsia announce actions to address ATMC technical issue

Local Airlines

After the main flight data processor of the Air Traffic Management Center (ATMC) system of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines experienced a technical issue in the morning of May 20, 2024 and caused flight disruptions, three major airlines issued advisories and took measures to address the situation.

Inevitably, the technical issues with the radar system for the Manila area affected departures and arrivals of scheduled flights at the NAIA Terminals.

Philippine AirLines (PAL) spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said that the following domestic flights were cancelled: PR 2135/2136 Manila-Bacolod-Manila; PR 2045/2046 Manila-Caticlan-Manila; PR 2043/2044 Manila-Caticlan-Manila and PR 2823/2824 Manila-Davao-Manila.

“As always, safety is our top priority. We seek your kind understanding and patience. We advise you to check the status of your journey before proceeding to the airport. Please log on to https://www.philippineairlines.com/en/flight-status,” Villauna said.

She said that in cases of cancelled flights, one has the option to convert his ticket to Travel Credits equivalent to the unused segment of the ticket and that voucher validity is one year from the date of issuance; rebook or reroute his ticket to another flight with available space within 60 days from the original flight in the same booking class or higher within the same cabin class or refund ticket without penalties, excluding Ticketing Service Charge.

Cebu Pacific spokesperson Carmina Romero meanwhile said that while working to restore its operations, only limited flight operations were permitted between midday and 2:21 p.m. on Monday.

“The ATMC resumed operations at 2:21pm but it will take some time for operations to normalize. Please expect delays, cancellations, and disruptions for the remainder of the day,” Romero said.

Consequently, CEB has cancelled the following flights: 5J 389/390: Manila – Cagayan De Oro – Manila; 5J 455/456: Manila – Iloilo – Manila; 5J 487/488: Manila – Bacolod – Manila; 5J 557/558: Manila – Cebu – Manila and 5J 955/956: Manila – Davao – Manila.

Romero said affected passengers have been informed via email and provided with the following options through the Manage Booking portal on the Cebu Pacific website: Free Rebooking without fare difference for travel up to thirty days from original flight date. The fare difference will apply if the travel period is beyond 30 days from the original flight date; Use of travel fund where one may store the amount in a virtual CEB wallet and use this to either book a new flight or pay for add-ons (example: baggage allowance, seat selection, etc.); and full refund of ticket.

“CEB is also offering flexible options, which include free rebooking and Travel Fund, to passengers who wish to postpone their flights to and from Manila scheduled May 20, until 11:59 p.m. They may avail themselves of these options through the Manage Booking portal of the CEB website up to two hours before their scheduled time of departure,” Romero added.

Romero said CEB advises passengers to check the status of their flights via https://www.cebupacificair.com/flight-status and update their contact details via the Manage Booking portal to receive email notifications on flight reminders and updates.

“For other questions or concerns,  passengers may send a message via Charlie the chatbot on the Cebu Pacific website, or through CEB’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts.

We will provide updates as more information becomes available,” she added.

Meanwhile, AirAsia Philippines said its guests were advised on multiple flight delays on Monday caused by the said software issue.

“Our airport staff have effectively managed the disruptions through timely announcements and updates made through sms, media partners and social media,” said AirAsia Philippines Communications and Public Affairs Head and First Officer Steve Dailisan.

“AirAsia expects the situation to normalize very soon. We appreciate the patience and understanding of our guests as the delays are beyond our control. Likewise, we thank our aviation authorities for immediately resolving the technical issue,” Dailisan added.

At around 12 noon on Monday, CAAP advised all airlines on the technical issue temporarily suspending all departing and arriving aircraft at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Flights originating from the different local and domestic destinations of AirAsia likewise experienced disruptions.

By 2:40 p.m., the airline received confirmation that the issue had been resolved and normal air navigation had resumed.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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