Power outage forces Philippines to suspend flights and close airspace

Power outage forces Philippines to suspend flights and close airspace
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  • More than 280 delayed flights diverted on New Year’s Day
  • Transport chief blames power outage for failure
  • System partially restored, airlines offer free rebooking

MANILA, Jan 1 (Reuters) – Philippine authorities halted flights in and out of Manila on New Year’s Day due to an air traffic control malfunction, which also prevented airlines bound for other destinations from using the space. air of the country

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

It was not clear how many flybys were affected.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista apologized for the inconvenience to passengers and blamed a power outage for the failure of the central air traffic control system that also affected operations at other airports in the country.

He said the outdated existing installation would need to be upgraded immediately and a backup system was also needed.

“This is a problem with the air traffic management system,” he told a news conference. “If you compare us with Singapore, on the one hand, there is a big difference, they are at least 10 years ahead of us.”

As of 0800 GMT, “the system has been partially restored, allowing for limited flight operations,” the Manila International Airport Authority said in a statement. By late afternoon, eight flight arrivals and eight departures had been allowed, according to the airport operator.

Videos and photos posted on social media showed long queues at the airport and airline staff distributing food and drink packages to stranded passengers.

“We were told that the radar and navigation facilities at NAIA are down. I was on my way home from Tokyo, 3 hours after the flight, but had to return to Haneda,” tweeted one passenger: Manuel Pangilinan, president of the Philippine telecommunications conglomerate. PLDT Inc. .

“6 hours of useless flight but the inconvenience for travelers and the losses for tourism and business are horrendous. Only in the PH. Sigh.”

Budget airline Cebu Pacific (CEB.PS) and Philippine Airlines (PAL.PD) He said they were offering passengers who were due to fly on Sunday free rebooking changes or the option to convert tickets into coupons.

Reporting by Enrico Dela Cruz; Edited by Neil Fullick, Peter Graff and Alison Williams

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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