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Philippines Airlines has announced plans to cut over 30% of its workforce, amounting to up to 2,000 employees. (Photo: AirlineGeeks | William Derrickson)

Manila Airport Hit by Power Outage

Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the gateway to Philippines, has fallen at the first hurdle in 2023. Thousands of passengers were left stranded in the airport on the New Year’s day due to a power outage.

According to Cesar Chiong, General Manager of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the failure of primary and secondary power supply resulted in the outage at the airport. The own power system was introduced in 2018. The cause of the incident is being determined but the government has ruled out sabotage.

Jaime Bautista, Philippine Transportation Secretary, has apologized for the inconvenience caused to the affected passengers. During the power outage, the air traffic control center has lost communication.

“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., Bautista said.

As a result of the incident, some flights have cancelled, diverted and delayed. Qantas is among the affected airline as the QF 19, from Sydney to Manila, forced to return to Sydney. The passengers have suffered a 10 and half hours delay.

“All airlines were prevented from arriving into Manila on Sunday afternoon as local authorities closed the local airspace,” Qantas said in a statement.

MIAA said an estimated 65,000 passengers were affected by the incident and need to take around 72 hours for the airlines to normalize their operations.

Philippine Airlines said the power failure created a domino effect, delaying the flights scheduled on the following day, it will take some time to fully restore normal schedule. In the wake of NAIA set a maximum of 15 arrivals per hour instead of 20, the flag carrier could not restart its full operation.

Cebu Pacific Airways, the budget airline in the country, has cancelled 259 flights, affecting 26,253 passengers. The glitch led to a cancellation of 75 flights on the following day.

In response to the power failure, Bureau of Immigration have deployed sufficient personnel at the airports across the country.

New Airport Launch in 2027

The technical issue has raised concerned about the facility of Ninoy Aquino International Airport. The airport is best known for its overcrowded, delays and reach its capacity before the pandemic. The new airport could be the only solution to the country. Philippine started building a new airport in 2019. Earlier, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced that the New Manila International Airport is aimed to be launched by 2027.

The new airport is located at 35 kilometers north of Manila and design the capacity up to 100 million passengers annually.  The current airport is maximum with 31 million passengers but handled 45 million in 2018. San Miguel Corp. invested in the new airport on its own and will be granted a 50-year concession period.

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