Haze cancels flights
COTABATO CITY—Two major Philippine airlines have cancelled flights from Manila to the city as haze, believed to be from the Indonesian forest fire, continues to darken skies over this and other Mindanao cities.
The flight cancellation has been going on since Saturday.
The two airlines—Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific—have canceled the flights as a safety precaution.
According to Roy Jumawan, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) weather specialist, 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 and Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao met on Thursday with Pagasa and agreed not to issue a green light for any aircraft to take off and land at the Awang airport due to haze.
“While the skies are quite clear compared to skies early this week, it is still not safe for any aircraft to land and leave the Awang airport,” Jamero told the Inquirer.
Jumawan said the haze came from forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan, Indonesia and was spread to other nearby countries, like the Philippines, Brunei and Malaysia, by the southwest monsoon.
He added that Typhoon “Lando” (international name: Koppu), which struck the northern part of the Philippines, was partly to blame for the entry of haze in the Philippines.
Jumawan said smoke, dust and small particles that engulfed the region made it difficult for pilots to take off and land due to “very poor visibility.”
A staff member of the Cebu Pacific ticketing office said the airline has not issued any notice on when the flights at the Cotabato airport would resume.
A notice of flight cancellation greeted passengers at the main door of the PAL office at the Awang Airport. The notice has been posted there since Saturday and was still there until yesterday morning.
Cebu Pacific flies the Manila-Cotabato-Manila route twice daily while PAL has one midday flight to Cotabato from Manila. Edwin O. Fernandez, Inquirer Mindanao
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