453 flights canceled at Manila airport
Major airlines suspended more than 450 flights to and from Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) on Friday as Supertyphoon “Yolanda” battered central Philippines.
The Manila International Airport Authority said that as of 12 noon, 445 domestic and eight international flights were canceled by Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, PAL Express, Air Asia Zest and Tiger Airways.
Naia Terminal 3 had the most cancellations, with 364 flights canceled, followed by Terminal 5, 51, and Terminal 2, 38.
Terminal 1, which handles international flights, reported no cancellations.
According to airline staff, their ticketing and customer service units notified passengers about the cancellations through social media, e-mail and text messages.
Most of the cancellations were announced as early as Thursday afternoon.
But several passengers, mostly tourists and overseas Filipino workers, arrived at Naia expecting to book as chance passengers but instead got stranded and were forced to wait at the airport for new flight schedules.
As part of safety measures, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) yesterday suspended for 24 hours operations at 12 airports, mostly in the Visayas.
Closed were airports in Bacolod, Busuanga in Palawan, Tacloban, Surigao, Kalibo, Roxas, Caticlan in Aklan, Iloilo, Romblon, Legazpi, Masbate and Dumaguete.
CAAP Deputy Director General John Andrews said the suspensions were forced by the weather bureau’s hoisting of Signal No. 4, which meant “very strong winds of more than 185 kilometers per hour for at least 12 hours.”
Andrews said the winds were so strong that an airplane could be blown off course. On the ground, planes would have difficulty landing or taking off, he added.
Andrews said the 12 airports would resume operations by 6 p.m. Saturday.
The CAAP said the Cebu-Mactan and Clark airports were not available as alternative airports because of their full schedules.
Originally posted at 10:34 p.m. | November 9, 2013
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