37 flights cancelled due to poor visibility at NAIA

July 3, 2010 9:02 pm 

MANILA, July 3 – Thirty-five incoming domestic and international flights were cancelled towards the end of the day at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City on Saturday due to poor visibility.

All flights were diverted to Pampanga, Cebu, and Iloilo due to poor visibility shortly after lunch, according to Lito Casaul, technical assistant of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Casaul said in a text message that the "almost zero visibility" at the NAIA was blamed to the thick haze that came too close to the ground, which might cause pilots to miss the runway.

Casaul said haze – normally a result of air pollution – is normal at this time of the year, but it was thicker than the usual Saturday morning, causing visibility to drop to one kilometer.

He said airplanes are allowed to land on the airport only with a three or four-kilometer visibility.

Of the 35 flights, 22 (four international and 18 domestic) were initially diverted to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga. Some of the flights came from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and Guam.

Two Philippine Airlines flights, meanwhile, were diverted to land in the central Philippine province of Cebu. A PAL flight was also diverted to Iloilo province.

Candice Iyog, vice president for marketing of the Cebu Pacific Airlines, said in an email, four of the diverted flights were their fleet – two of them came from Caticlan, one from Catarman, and one from Naga.

Iyog said their four affected flights were only small aircraft (ATR72), adding that their bigger Airbus planes were still able to land at the NAIA because of their capability to land under low visibility.

Apart from the four Cebu Pacific flights, other diverted flights were: 11 flights of Philippine Airlines; a flight of Royal Brunei Airlines; two flights of the Air Philippines; four flights of Zest Airlines; one flight each from KNL Airlines and Sea Air; two flights of China Air; and one flights of Air Micronesia. (PNA) RMA/JCA

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