61 uncoordinated flights worsened NAIA delays

Aika Rey

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61 uncoordinated flights worsened NAIA delays


Manila airport authorities are still determining whether they will impose penalties on the involved airlines

MANILA, Philippines – A total of 61 uncoordinated flights worsened congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport after the resumption of flight operations, causing more flight delays in the wake of the Xiamen Air accident.

Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal on Monday, August 20, said these “recovery” flights coordinated with the Civil Aviaition Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) but not with them.

“Last August 18 and 19, we were able to document 61 flights that did not inform us (MIAA). We only knew when they were approaching, which created a lot of congestion in terms of parking space,” Monreal said.

Recovery flights are those that have diverted to other airports, but have landed at the original scheduled airport. (LOOK: Crowded NAIA after runway reopening)

The NAIA chief explained that they were not expecting these flights, and so they had to “allot slots” at the last minute. It led to long delays for some flights because the slots intended for those on regular operations had to wait for their parking spaces. 

“I told the airlines not to leave MIAA in the equation. If they land here and they are not on our list, of course, we get surprised. I hope that does not happen again,” Monreal said.

Among those that mounted recovery flights in NAIA was Xiamen Air, the operator of the Chinese passenger plane that skidded off NAIA international runway 06/24 late Thursday night, August 16. (READ: Removing plane was Xiamen Air’s responsibility – MIAA)

Asked to list which airlines mounted the recovery flights, Monreal refused to comment.

“There were a lot of airlines that did not inform us. We only knew about it [when they arrived here]. It caused some delays, which is not good for the passengers,” Monreal said.

Airport authorities are still determining whether they will impose penalties on the involved airlines.

Monreal said at least 681 domestic and international flights had been affected. At around 200 passengers per flight, that would mean around 136,200 affected passengers, he said.

The runway was temporarily closed due to the mishap, and was only reopened late Saturday morning, August 18. 

The incident led to a domino effect on flights across all 4 NAIA terminals. Cancellations were reported until Monday, leaving thousands camping out at the airports. (READ: What to do when your flight gets canceled Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.