NAIA on 'road to recovery' as flight operations back to normal
MANILA, Philippines – The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is now on the "road to recovery" as flight operations have returned to normal, Manila International Airport Authority Ed Monreal said on Tuesday, January 14.
Monreal gave the assessment in a Palace news briefing, while giving an update on airport operations after Taal Volcano eruption prompted the cancellation of flights at the NAIA.
"So ngayon po, magmula kahapon, normal na. Pero airlines' capability to mount all regular, all the other flights ay inuuna. On road to recovery na po," Monreal said.
(As of now, starting yesterday afternoon, it's been normal. But the airlines' capability to mount all regular flights, all the other other are being prioritized. We're on the road to recovery.)
From 12 midnight to 7 am, the airport chief said NAIA accommodated 360 flights – "half of the capacity" of flight operations at NAIA. (READ: Taal Volcano eruption: What we know about affected towns, cities)
Monreal added that the two-hour runway closure for maintenance, from 1:30 am to 3:30 am, will be not be implemented on Wednesday, January 15, to give airlines more time to mount their flights, especially to accommodate passengers whose flights were earlier canceled.
The runway closure was also not implemented on Tuesday, January 14, for the same reason.
"Ngayong gabi, ibibigay namin ang closure ng dalawang oras. That's 80 flights to be mounted again. Mareregularize, lahat po ng schedule ngayon 'yan ang binibigyan ng prayoridad. 'Yung mga recovery flights sinisingit ho namin kung merong pagkakataon," Monreal said.
(Tonight, we will not implement two-hour closure for maintenance. That's about 80 flights to be mounted again. The schedule will be regular now, the schedule would be given priority. We wil squeeze in the recovery flights whenever possible.)
Taal Volcano eruption still imminent: But the airport chief said that NAIA operations may again be suspended, depending on the status of the Taal Volcano and other related factors. (READ: Taal Volcano spewing 500-meter lava fountains, more ash)
"Definitely, there would be a chance [to suspend] – but we hope that chance won't happen – dahil ang aming operasyon ay depende sa activity ng Taal at ng direction ng hangin (because our operations are dependent on the activity of Taal Volcano and the wind direction)," Monreal said.
He said that if there are safety issues concerned, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines would recommend the suspension of operations.
"Safety is of paramount importance," he added.
What to do about cancelled flights? Monreal urged passengers whose flights were cancelled to contact the airlines directly, either in their offices or online, instead of proceeding to the airport.
He said that airport frontliners would not be able to answer all queries with regards to canceled flights.
"'Wag na pumunta sa mga paliparan dahil wala silang makukuha. Dahil right now ang ineentertain ang mga naka-schedule sa araw na 'to (Don't go the airport terminals because they won't be able to get answers. Right now, we are entertaining those that are scheduled today)," Monreal said.