By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Several Bacolod City-bound flights were affected after Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) closed the Manila airspace due to the Taal volcanic eruption in Batangas. Based on a bulletin issued by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) at 4:00 p.m. yesterday, the volcano erupted around 1404H, or 2:04 p.m., generating an ash plume that reached as high as one kilometer into the air.
The eruption also generated several volcanic earthquakes, which were felt in and around Taal Lake.
The ash cloud reportedly reached parts of Metro Manila, including the airspace surrounding NAIA, and forced the airport to temporarily suspend flight operations.
As of press time, the Bacolod City-bound flights affected by the closure include Cebu Pacific flights 5J 479 and 5J 471, AirAsia flight Z2 607, and Philippine Airlines flight PR 2137.
However, while it is believed the said flights were affected, the respective airline companies have yet to issue a formal statement specifically indicating the flights that were directly canceled due to the closure.
In the meantime, authorities have advised air travelers to contact their respective carriers for details on flight schedules./DGB, WDJ