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NAIA resumes partial ops as runway clearing continues

January 14, 2020 - Tuesday 12:01 AM by PNA

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MANILA -- Partial operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) resumed on Monday morning even as personnel continue to clear the runway and taxiways of ash fall from the volcanic eruption.

Flight operations were halted at NAIA on Sunday night due to the presence of volcanic ash clouds at major traffic airway and the ash fall accumulated in the runway when Taal Volcano erupted over the weekend.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) declared partial operations, starting at 10 a.m. for departure flights, and 12 noon for arrivals.

In a press conference shortly before noon, MIAA general manager Ed Monreal noted that clearing operations at the runway are still ongoing because of the huge volume of ash fall the personnel have been clearing since 4 a.m.

He said that even if the airport is now open for partial operations, it does not mean that everyone could fly right away.

"NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) was lifted at 10 a.m., but as we speak, there are no departure flights yet. The airlines need to bring their passengers back here at the airport from where they were (billeted). They need to check in again (at the airport)," Monreal said.

As for the arriving flights, this would depend on the availability of slots.

"All of our parking slots are full since the aircraft are here since last night," he said.

MIAA announced that priority would be given to departure flights, so the ramps may be cleared of planes parked there since Sunday night. Second priority will be given to regular scheduled flights for Monday.

There were at least 516 flights affected from the operations suspension.

First flight arrival was recorded at 12:21 p.m., while first departure flight took off at 12:31 p.m.

Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific spokesperson Charo Lagamon said that passengers, who have scheduled flights for Monday, may still opt to refund or rebook their flights, free of charge.

AirAsia Philippines, on the other hand, announced that it has thoroughly checked its aircraft and equipment, prior to the resumption of flight operations. Some of its flights remain canceled.

Philippine Airlines announced the cancelation of 13 domestic flights, and a delay in a number of its international flights scheduled for Monday. It also gave the passengers the option to rebook or refund their tickets, free of charge.