After a power outage, the country’s busiest airport tries to get things back to normal.
After a power outage on New Year’s Day disrupted air traffic control, the Philippines’ main gateway remained closed on Monday.After more than 300 flights were interrupted, authorities raced to restore full service.
According to Cesar Chiong, general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, the ageing Ninoy Aquino International Airport could only handle 15 arrivals per hour on Monday morning, compared to 20 during normal business hours.
He said that the unprecedented failure of the primary and backup power supplies was the cause of the outage.
“The airlines’ operations would take roughly 72 hours to return to normal,” Chiong told the ANC television channel.
About 65,000 people were impacted by the 361 flights that were either delayed, cancelled, or diverted to other regional airports on Sunday, while a large number of other flights were compelled to change their course to avoid Philippine airspace.
Philippine Airlines, the country’s flag airline, announced that it was setting up recovery flights out of Singapore, Malaysia, and the United States and diverting certain flights to domestic airports. On Monday, low-cost airline Cebu Pacific cancelled 54 domestic flights.
According to Chiong, the airport installed its own power system in 2018, but both the primary and backup systems failed on Sunday.
He said that when they connected directly to conventional commercial electricity, they encountered over-voltage and power surges that caused devices like radar, communications, radio, and the internet to malfunction.
Flight delays are common at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which has previously been named one of the worst international gateways in the world. Upgrades have also frequently been postponed or abandoned because of disagreements between the airport and contractors.
The Philippines plans to relieve pressure by spending billions of dollars to construct airports in the provinces that surround Manila, including Cavite and Bulacan, which are scheduled to open in 2027.