Hundreds of passengers at Bacolod-Silay Airport affected
By Dominique Gabriel G. Bañaga
Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) reopened flight operations yesterday at 12:00 noon after the ash generated by the Taal volcanic eruption in Batangas dissipated. Based on an advisory by officials from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), the resumption of flight operations was made around 10:00 a.m. for departures and the acceptance of arrivals beginning at 12:00 noon.
However, as of press time, the resumption of flight operations is only “partial” as both the MIAA and CAAP pointed out, under the current situation, separation time between flights will be longer in order to give them better capability to manage terminal and runway capacity.
Prior to the resumption of flight operations, a reliable source working within NAIA informed Watchmen Daily Journal that airport fire trucks were seen hosing down the runway and taxiways to remove the volcanic ash that had built up overnight.
Planes that had been grounded since Sunday night were also seen covered by a layer of ash.
Meanwhile, the CAAP Public Information Office at Bacolod-Silay Airport reported several flights scheduled for yesterday morning were canceled. Among the canceled flights were Cebu Pacific flights 5J 474, 5J 476, and 5J 486; AirAsia flights Z2 603 and Z2 604; and Philippine Airlines flights PR2129 and PR 2131.
The three airline companies subsequently released statements on social media offering advice to affected passengers.
Both Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific informed affected passengers that they have the option to rebook their flights within 30 days without penalty or receive a full refund for their tickets. For AirAsia Philippines, they advised customers to check their flight status on the carrier’s official website. Affected AirAsia passengers were also given the same option to rebook without charge or receive a full refund.
In addition, AirAsia customers were also given the chance to retain the value of their fare via the airline’s loyalty account.
Last Sunday night, airport authorities were forced to close the Manila airspace due to the Taal volcanic eruption as the ash cloud reportedly reached parts of Metro Manila, including the airspace surrounding NAIA, and forced the airport to temporarily suspend flight operations./DGB, WDJ