DOTr: Naia operations back to normal, affected passengers in PH given assistance
MANILA, Philippines — Flight operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) have returned to normal, as passengers affected by flight disruptions caused by an air traffic system glitch on New Year’s Day were given assistance, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said.
In a virtual briefing on Sunday night, Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said agencies involved are on top of the situation, adding that the DOTr and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) distributed “Malasakit” kits and food packs to passengers who were stranded at various airports in the country.
Bautista added that the DOTr also directed its airline partners to provide “food, refreshments, transportation, lodging and accommodation for all affected passengers, free of charge.”
“We want to assure the public that DOTr is on top of the situation, and the Department along with [CAAP] have since been addressing the incident on the ground […] CAAP and MIAA (Manila International Airport Authority) distributed Malasakit Kits and food packs to stranded passengers in our terminals,”
“DOTr also instructed the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) deployment of shuttle buses to take affected NAIA passengers to Clark International Airport,” he added.
Bautista again asked for the public’s understanding as over 280 flights were either canceled, delayed, or diverted due to the technical problem that affected the CAAP’s Philippine Air Traffic Management Center (ATMC).
“While we acknowledge and apologize for any inconvenience brought by the incident, rest assured that DOTr, with CAAP, MIAA, and other airport stakeholders, are working tirelessly to restore full operations at our ATMC, and safely bring home all affected passengers,” the DOTr chief said.
“We graciously appeal for everyone’s patience and understanding,” he added.
Earlier, CAAP Director General Capt. Manuel Tamayo said that Naia operations should normalize by 8:00 p.m., on Sunday, as the primary issues have been solved.
Tamayo added that electric supply was available contrary to earlier claims that there was a power outage. He explained that it was the power supply of the ATMC’s Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Systems for Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) that had failed and caused damage to key components.
“So at this point in time, na-restore na natin ‘yong ating CNS/ATM as of 7:45 we already had the radar displaced, and we were informed that it is 100 percent already, operational, however we still have to replace the equipment, the backup system, mga equipment na nasira because of this occurrence,” Tamayo said.
“So we expect operations to normalize at this point in time, in fact we are accepting already, there are several international arrivals, and we expect to dispatch as much departing aircraft flights as possible,” he added.
The flight interruptions which started after 9:00 a.m. infuriated passengers who lamented that the incident was not a good way to start the New Year.
According to MIAA, at least 282 flights were either delayed, cancelled, or were diverted to other regional airports and ports abroad. Over 56,000 departing and arriving passengers at the Naia were affected.