The Philippines Will Temporarily Close Its Airspace Later This Month
The Philippines will temporarily close its airspace later this month in order to address frequent airport failures.
On May 17, the airspace above the whole Philippines will be closed for six hours so that failing electrical equipment may be replaced. This is an effort by the Philippines to resolve the issue.
These power outages, which occurred on Labor Day and New Year's Day, led to considerable turmoil and resulted in the cancellation of hundreds of flights, which affected tens of thousands of people.
During a press event on Tuesday, Bryan Co, senior assistant general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority, stated that:
The entire Philippine airspace will be shut down.- Bryan Co
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The work will replace the air traffic management center's uninterruptible power supply, and the airspace closure will take place between 12 a.m. and 6 a.m. local time, which is typically a period of reduced flight traffic, according to Co.
Co urged airlines to prepare for the closure of its airspace by rearranging flight itineraries and informing customers about alternate arrangements as soon as possible.
The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) in Manila, the country's major international gateway, was built 75 years ago and has struggled to keep up with growing passenger volume since flights resumed after pandemic restrictions were lifted.
The airport's Terminal 3 experienced a nearly nine-hour outage on May 1, resulting in the cancellation of 48 Cebu Pacific domestic flights over the Labor Day long weekend vacation. Crowds of disgruntled passengers lined up at Cebu Pacific's counter heckled personnel about a lack of information on flight plans.
In the aftermath of the event, the airport authority is conducting a comprehensive electrical examination, and an audit may take up to 90 days to determine which improvements should be prioritized.
A newly formed Manila International Airport Consortium (MIAC) had made proposals to the national government just days before the chaos, outlining a series of upgrades at the country's largest airport, with the goal of doubling annual passenger capacity to 62.5 million by 2028, the group of six conglomerates said in a statement on Thursday.
According to the airport's website, it handled 48 million passengers in 2019, despite being intended to accommodate 31.5 million, and the renovation is anticipated to cost $1.8 billion (100 billion Philippine pesos).
The Philippine government launched an official investigation into what caused a severe outage on New Year's Day, which occurred during the busy year-end travel season, when large numbers of foreign tourists and overseas citizens fly into the country to celebrate Christmas and New Year.
Upgrades were long needed, especially after tens of thousands of passengers were stuck in the Southeast Asian hub this year after major power outages disrupted air traffic control at the country's busiest airport on New Year's Day. Nearly 300 flights were delayed, canceled, or diverted to other regional airports, affecting at least 56,000 passengers.
Despite the temporary disruption, their resilience and determination and its stakeholders serve as a testament to their commitment to providing safe and efficient air travel services.
As the airport resumes operations, the focus remains on delivering a seamless travel experience for passengers and upholding the highest standards of safety and customer service.