- On New Year’s Day, Philippine authorities suspended flights in and out of Manila due to a malfunction in the air traffic control system.
- It also prevented airlines from using the country’s airspace to fly to other destinations.
- The issue caused 282 flights to be delayed, canceled, or diverted to other regional airports, affecting approximately 56,000 passengers at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
The Transportation Secretary, Jaime Bautista, apologized for the inconvenience and attributed the problem to a power outage that disrupted the central air traffic control system and operations at other airports in the country.
Bautista stated that the outdated facility needs to be upgraded immediately and that a backup system is also necessary. As of 8:00 AM GMT, the system had been partially restored, allowing for limited flight operations. By the evening, eight arrivals and eight departures had been permitted. Budget carriers Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines offered passengers the option to change their tickets for free or convert them to vouchers.
Issues Faced Due To Disruption of Flights
The disruption of flights in and out of Manila on New Year’s Day caused significant disruptions for travelers and airlines. Many passengers were left stranded at the airport, with long queues and crowded terminal buildings. Some passengers took to social media to express their frustration, with one tweeting that they had been on a flight for three hours when it was forced to return to its origin due to the malfunction.
Other passengers reported being stuck at the airport for hours without any information about their flights. Airlines such as Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines offered free rebooking or ticket vouchers to affected passengers. Still, many travelers likely experienced significant delays and disruptions to their travel plans.
The malfunction in the air traffic control system was attributed to a power outage, which disrupted the central air traffic control system and operations at other airports in the Philippines.
This incident highlights the importance of investing in reliable and modern infrastructure in the aviation industry, as disruptions and malfunctions can significantly impact travelers and the overall economy.