300 flights canceled, rescheduled
Major airlines were forced to cancel or reschedule over 300 domestic and international flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) as Typhoon “Nina” (international name: Nock-ten) barreled through Luzon on Monday.
At a press briefing, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said airlines had enforced a preemptive evacuation in anticipation of the typhoon, appealing to travelers not to come to the airport until their flights had been rescheduled.
“To all the passengers, if your flights have not firmed up—meaning no flight schedule has been made—avoid coming to the airport so that you will not get stuck here waiting for nothing,” said Monreal.
But despite the warning, hundreds of travelers still made a beeline at airline counters on Monday, hoping that they would get to fly out within the day.
Monreal said 300, or 90 percent, of the flights at Naia were either delayed, rescheduled and canceled, and the figure can still go up within the day “as we are [continuously] receiving application of their flights to be retimed or to operate later in the evening.”
At least 60 to 70 percent of the 300 flights were canceled, he pointed out.
To accommodate all the recovery flights, Monreal said the agency was waiving the daily runway closure Monday night.
“I also assured all the airlines that we will be lifting runway closure tonight as the situation requires for it so we will be open until the next day to accommodate all recovery flights,” he said.
The MIAA has not yet enforced a runway closure since the wind brought about by the typhoon was still within the limit of airline operations, he added.
On Christmas Eve, airport officials advised airline companies to anticipate the closure of Naia should Nina’s winds pick up at 50 knots (around 92.6 kilometers per hour).
“We have not closed the runway because the wind is still tolerable. But we will continue to monitor. If the wind speed doesn’t reach 50 knots, we will not close down the airport,” he said.
Philippine Airlines on Monday implemented schedule changes and cancellations on over 130 international and domestic flights while Cebu Pacific canceled over 170 flights, mostly local flights. Air Asia also scrapped 20 domestic flights on Monday.
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