Haze forces cancellation of flights in Mindanao
COTABATO CITY, Philippines – Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific flights from here to Manila have been canceled the past six days due to the haze that engulfed most of Mindanao cities, the state weather bureau said on Thursday.
Roy Jumawan, Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA-Cotabato) weather specialist, said the haze that has been hovering over Central Mindanao since Saturday was brought about by forest fires in Indonesia and brought by southwest monsoon winds to the southern Philippines.
Charlene Jamero, another PAGASA weather specialist, said representatives from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao met Thursdaywith PAGASA and maintained the policy not to allow aircraft to land or take off from Awang airport due to the haze.
“While the skies are quiet clear as compared to early this week, it is still not safe for any aircraft to land and leave the Awang airport,” she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
Jumawan said the haze came from forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia, and has spread to nearby countries like Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia due to the southwest monsoon.
He added that Typhoon Lando that hit the northern part of country contributed to the entry of haze in Philippine area of responsibility.
Jumawan said smoke, dust and small particles that engulfed the region have made it difficult for pilots to land and take off due to “very poor visibility.”
A staff of the Cebu Pacific ticketing office said the airline firm has not issued any statement on when the flights in Cotabato airport would resume.
A notice of flight cancellation had been greeting passengers at the main door of PAL office at Awang Airport from Saturday untilThursday morning.
Cebu Pacific flies twice from Manila-Cotabato-Manila everyday while PAL has one mid-day flight to Cotabato.SFM