‘Technical issues’ halt New Year flights at NAIA

Bea Cupin

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‘Technical issues’ halt New Year flights at NAIA

STRANDED. Hundreds of passengers crowd the NAIA Terminal 1 in Pasay City following the suspension of flights due to technical issues on January 1, 2023.

Jire Carreon/Rappler

(5th UPDATE) Tens of thousands of passengers are affected as hundreds of flights get disrupted on Sunday, January 1

MANILA, Philippines – Flights to and from Metro Manila were put on hold on New Year’s Day, Sunday, January 1, over “technical issues” with the air traffic management system of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

As of 7:30 pm on Sunday, more than 360 flights had either been canceled, diverted to other airports, or delayed, said the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), which manages the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

More than 65,000 passengers have been affected at NAIA, the main international airport that serves Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

The air traffic management system was “partially restored” at 4 pm, “allowing limited flight operations,” said MIAA.

The first plane to land following the partial restoration was Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight PR222 from Brisbane, Australia, at 4:55 pm.

CAAP earlier said the problem at the Philippine Air Traffic Management Center was first detected at 9:50 am on Sunday.

Air traffic management involves systems handling aircraft departures and landings, as well as the passage of planes through a country’s airspace.

CAAP said flights had to be halted “to ensure the safety of passengers, crew, and aircraft.”

Must Read

LIST: New Year flights canceled, diverted, delayed over air traffic system woes

LIST: New Year flights canceled, diverted, delayed over air traffic system woes
Airlines’ advisories

Flag carrier PAL advised its customers to first check their flight’s status before heading to the airport.

“This is a temporary situation, and we will take all necessary steps to restore normal schedules and bring diverted flights back to their original destination as soon as possible,” said PAL in a statement.

“As always, safety is our top priority, and we seek your kind understanding and patience as PAL works with the authorities and our service partners to make the best of a challenging situation. Please do not proceed to the airport if your flight is canceled, but instead, avail of the rebooking options.”

Budget airline Cebu Pacific, meanwhile, said it is “coordinating with the necessary authorities on when the situation will normalize.”

MIAA later told the public that it is working with the Airline Operators Council on a recovery schedule for canceled flights.

MIAA also reminded passengers of the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, which protects passengers traveling via plane, even as operators activate their contingency measures.

Actions taken

The Department of Transportation apologized “for any inconvenience brought by the incident” and appealed for “everyone’s patience and understanding.”

Airlines were directed to “provide food, refreshments, transportation, lodging, and accommodation for all affected passengers, free of charge,” said Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista in a statement on Sunday evening.

“CAAP and MIAA distributed Malasakit Kits and food packs to stranded passengers in our terminals,” added Bautista.

The Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) is also providing free shuttle services to bring stranded passengers from NAIA to the Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

“The initiative is also being undertaken to protect passengers from certain taxis and transport network companies that are taking advantage of the situation by jacking up their surge prices,” the LTFRB said on Sunday.

Stranded OFWs

Meanwhile, overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) needing assistance due to the flight disruptions were advised to go to the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration Assistance Center.

Migrant Workers Secretary Susan Ople said migrant workers welfare offices, formerly Philippine overseas labor offices (POLOs), are also on alert to help OFWs stranded abroad.

The following can be contacted for assistance:

Narita International Airport, Japan

  • Assistant Labor Attaché (ALA) Barwin Villordon – +81 9069480929
  • Admin Staff Josie Damaso – +81 8034158437
  • One Repat Command Center Hotline – 1348

POLO Hong Kong

POLO Singapore

  • ALA Ed Ferrer – +6594842490


1 comment

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  1. DN

    Someone is trying to promote a P13B system to replace a system that went online 2018…smell really fishy. This is a case of “erratic circuit breaker”. It doesn’t justify an “expensive” new system!!!

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Bea Cupin

Bea is a senior multimedia reporter who covers national politics. She's been a journalist since 2011 and has written about Congress, the national police, and the Liberal Party for Rappler.