Manila airport disruption: Nearly 270 flights cancelled 


By Agencies and published by CNA

Singapore – Nearly 270 flights into or out of Manila were cancelled today (Jan. 1) following technical issues and a reported power outage at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).  

Travellers began experiencing disruptions in the early hours of New Year’s Day, with the airport authority saying in a Facebook post at 12.15 a.m. that several flight schedules may change “at any given time”. 

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) later said flights to and from the capital were on hold due to technical issues involving navigational air traffic management systems.

This prompted Philippine aviation authorities to halt all flights and trigger emergency protocols to address the situation and enable flights to resume as soon as possible.

The airport authority said its system was “partially restored” at 4 p.m. local time, thereby allowing limited flight operations with a total of 282 flight delays, cancellations or diversions affecting about 56,000 passengers at NAIA. 

In a subsequent update, the airport authority said on Facebook that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines was beginning to accept flights into NAIA following the partial restoration of its air traffic management system.

Philippine Airlines flight PR222 from Brisbane arrived at the airport while Cathay Pacific flight CX 930 departed for Hong Kong.

Delays, cancellations

Philippine carrier Cebu Pacific earlier said there was a power outage at the Philippine Air Traffic Management Centre.

In an advisory, the low-cost carrier said it was offering passengers of flights scheduled between Sunday and 0400 GMT (12 p.m. local time) on Jan. 2 “flexible options”, including free rebooking and converting tickets into travel vouchers for future use.

Philippine Airlines advised travellers to check the status of their journey before proceeding to the airport.

“This is a temporary situation, and we will take all necessary steps to restore normal schedules and bring diverted flights back to their original destination as soon as possible,” added the airline. 

Giving a breakdown of the affected flights, the airport authority said on Sunday afternoon that a total of 268 flights were cancelled as of 4 p.m. local time. These included both international and domestic flights on carriers such as Cebu Pacific, Japan Airlines, Philippine Airlines, Philippines AirAsia, AirSwift, Cebgo and PAL Express.

Seven flights – domestic trips by CebGo and Philippines AirAsia – were delayed.

Another seven flights – by carriers Gulf Air, Saudia Airlines, Thai Airways, Malaysia Airlines and Philippine Airlines – were diverted to cities like Hong Kong, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh City and Davao. 

Airport authorities distributed food packs and drinks to affected passengers. Photos shared by MIAA showed cartons of bottled water as well as snacks alongside dozens of travellers, some with young children, at the airport terminals.

Airlines such as Gulf Air, Korea Air and Saudia Airlines also rendered assistance. Images shared by the airport authority showed Korea Air stewardesses with a beverage cart as well as trays of meals.

Hours-long wait in Japan 

An affected traveller flying out of Japan told CNA that he and other passengers waited about four hours in their plane at Narita International Airport.

They had boarded at about 3.40 p.m. local time for a ZIPAIR flight that was originally scheduled to depart at 4.05 p.m. 

The airline said the delay was caused by the disruptions in Manila, said the traveller who wanted to be known only as Kelvin. Takeoff was eventually rescheduled to 8.30 p.m. 

Other passengers appeared to remain calm throughout the incident and no one was “requesting or making a fuss”, he said, adding that the airline did not provide any other form of assistance apart from giving passengers packets of crackers and water. 


Top, first insert, Front Page: Passengers wait for information about their flights at Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay, Metro Manila on Jan. 1, 2023. Photos: AFP/Kevin Tristan Espiritu and published by CNA

Second insert: Passengers look at a screen showing flight information at Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay, Metro Manila on Jan. 1, 2023. Photo: AFP/Kevin Tristan Espiritu and published by CNA

Third insert: Korea Air staff members preparing food and beverages for passengers at the Manila international airport on Jan. 1, 2023. Photo: Facebook/Ninoy Aquino International Airport MIAA and published by CNA 

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