Power outages in this country cause air traffic disruption

A power outage at the Philippine airport on Sunday caused nearly 300 domestic and international flights at the airport in Manila, Philippines to be canceled or diverted, stranding more than 65,000 passengers over the New Year holiday.

Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista apologized this evening in a press conference about the damage and confirmed that authorities are working to provide assistance to all affected passengers.

Bautista said the problem started this morning, when the Air Traffic Management Center, which oversees all flights in Philippine airspace, lost communications, radio, radar and the Internet due to a power outage, he said the Associated Press.

Airport management managed to restore air traffic order by late afternoon, and flights resumed at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Officials said they have asked airlines to operate more flights and use more wide-body aircraft to accommodate more passengers, and the airport is expected to fully recover after 72 hours.

Among the passengers stranded at the airport was businessman Mani Pangilinan, head of telecommunications firm PLDT, who said he was on his way to Manila from Tokyo when the power outage occurred.

He wrote on his Twitter account: “We were told that the radar and navigation facilities at Ninoy had malfunctioned. I was flying back from Tokyo – after a 3 hour flight, but had to make my way to Haneda. 6 hour flight pointless but annoying for travelers and the losses to tourism and business are appalling.”

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