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New Year's Day Power Outage Strands Thousands At Manila Airport

New Year's Day power outage strands thousands at Manila airport as chaos erupted in the Philippines. Air traffic control at the country's biggest airport was temporarily affected by a severe power outage, which messed up nearly 300 flights and left tens of thousands of travelers stuck in the Southeast Asian hub.

William Willis
Jan 02, 20234304 Shares57391 Views
New Year's Day power outage strands thousands at Manila airportas chaos erupted in the Philippines. Air traffic control at the country's biggest airport was temporarily affected by a severe power outage, which messed up nearly 300 flights and left tens of thousands of travelers stuck in the Southeast Asian hub.
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) is the main way for people to get to the Philippines. It serves Manila, the country's capital, and the area around it.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), which runs the airport, said in a statement that technical problems were found for the first time on Sunday morning. As of 4 p.m. local time on New Year's Day, 282 flights were either delayed, canceled, or rerouted to other regional airports. This affected about 56,000 passengers. Reuters said it wasn't clear how many overflights were affected.
Philippine Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista held a press conference on Sunday evening, January 1, to apologize to passengers for the trouble and explain that the airport's central air traffic control system had a severe power outage. He also said that there was a backup power source, but it hadn't been able to provide enough power.
Bautista said:
This was an air traffic management system issue. If you will compare (our airport) with Singapore's, for one, there is a big difference - they are at least 10 years ahead of us.- Philippine Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista
Bautista also said that his transportation department had worked with the affected airlines to make sure that all affected passengers got food, drinks, transportation, and a place to stay "free of charge to all affected passengers."
A Qantas flight from Sydney to Manila that left just before 1 p.m. local time on January 1 was one of the flights that had to be rerouted because of the airspace problem. Flight QF19 was only three hours into an eight-hour trip when it had to turn around and go back to Australia. "free of charge to all affected passengers."
In an update, CAAP said that some operations had started up again as of 5:50 p.m. local time and that the airport had started to accept flights again. A Facebook post from the Department of Transport said that airport operations were back to normal, but that repairs to the equipment were still going on.
But affiliate CNN Philippines said that more flights were canceled on Monday, January 2. People who didn't know what to do were angry and tired as they camped out in front of airline ticketing offices to get answers and early flights out.
Online, people are very angry about what happened, and many, including politicians, want to know how and why the power went out in the first place. In an official tweet on Monday, Filipino Senator Grace Poe said:
What a way to welcome the New Year at our country's airports. We will conduct an inquiry to find out who is liable and how we can avoid this from happening again.- Filipino Senator Grace Poe
Several people at the Manila Airport beside their luggage
Several people at the Manila Airport beside their luggage
The Covid-19 pandemic had a big effect on air travel around the world, but passenger traffic has been slowly getting back to normal, and experts say the industry will be back to normal by 2025. Online photos and videos showed that there were a lot of people at NAIA.
At several check-in desks, there were long lines. A lot of people with bags were also seen huddling around the flight arrival screens, waiting for news. A Filipino businessman named Manny V. Pangilinan wrote on Twitter that he was on his way back to Manila from Tokyo, but the plane had to go back to Haneda airport because "radar and navigation facilities at NAIA being down." he said. Pangilinan said that his plane finally landed in Manila at 11 p.m.
Student Xavier Fernandez was one of the thousands of people whose flights were messed up because of the New Year. He talked on the phone for hours with United Airlines and other airlines to change the date of his flight to San Francisco. He said, "It's been an absolute nightmare."
He also said that he had been in the airport for more than 10 hours. Fernandez also said that some passengers got on their planes on Sunday morning before the power outages were announced. Those people had to get off their planes after waiting for a few hours.
Large-scale flight delays are happening at the end of the year, which is a busy time for travel in the Philippines. Many foreign tourists and Filipinos living abroad fly into the country to celebrate Christmas and New Year, two of the country's most important holidays.
Fernandez had been in Manila with his family to spend Christmas and the New Year. He called the episode "literally the worst way to start the year."

Conclusion

Many Filipinos who worked abroad were forced to miss their flights to Hong Kong and Singapore because of the New Year airport crisis. A housekeeper named Nora Dela Cruz said that her job was "now in limbo" because she didn't come back to Hong Kong on Sunday. She and other women who work in the industry were "offloaded," she said, because of the delays.
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