Air traffic system glitch diverts all flights in Manila
MANILA, Philippines — Local carriers have temporarily suspended flights following the power outage at the Philippine Air Traffic Management Center (ATMC) on the first day of the year, causing worries to passengers bound to go home after the holiday break.
Cebu Pacific Air and Philippine Airlines, in separate advisories on Sunday, said their passengers can expect disruptions in the departures and arrivals of scheduled flights.
Cebu Pacific said this is a result of the ATMC “experiencing power outage and loss of communication which are affecting all operations.”
“All flights have been temporarily put on hold. Cebu Pacific is coordinating with the necessary authorities on when the situation will normalize. Please expect flight disruptions as we manage the situation,” it added.
Philippine Airlines, meanwhile, said it is “closely coordinating with the aviation authorities on the adjustment of flight schedules and clearances, as the authorities are working expeditiously to resolve this temporary problem.”
“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,” it said.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has since apologized to affected airline passengers as it assured that the concern is already being addressed.
“The safety of passengers is the priority of the agency and it is better to secure the aircrafts on the ground to avoid any airborne accident,” CAAP said in a statement.
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) head Cesar Chiong, citing the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), said: “[Power] supply issue fixed and restored to have ATMC service to operate shortly after completing system tests.
In its own statement, MIAA assured passengers that a crisis management team has been activated with members from key aviation and airport agencies “for a multi-discipline approach to cushion the impact of the incident.”
“It is expected that flight departures and arrivals will be retimed to new schedules. In view of this, passengers were advised to await instructions or announcements from the airlines, stay inside the terminals, and approach the nearest airline or airport help desk for updates,” it said.
Emergency protocols have already been implemented to hasten the resumption of flight operations, it added.
The ATMC, according to the CAAP website, “operates and maintains air traffic control and airspace facilities nationwide.
This is “to ensure safe, orderly and expeditious conduct of air traffic,” it added.
Technical issues marring ATMC operations may result in communication problems with air traffic services when flights navigate within the Philippine airspace, putting the safety of passengers at risk.
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