NAIA reopens for recovery flights; normal ops to resume 11 p.m. Dec. 3 – MIAA

Robie de Guzman   •   December 3, 2019   •   367

(FILE) Travelers and airport porters are seen in front of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal One in Paranaque City, Philippines.  EPA-EFE FRANCIS MALASIG

MANILA, Philippines – The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) announced that the runways of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were reopened at 6 p.m. on Tuesday following its temporary closure due to the effects of typhoon Tisoy (international name: Kammuri).

MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal said they decided to reopen the airport ahead of schedule after consulting with the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) in view of the improving weather condition.

With NAIA runways’ reopening, Monreal said domestic carriers were allowed to bring back to Manila all their aircraft that were preemptively evacuated to other local airports due to the typhoon.

From 6 p.m. to 11 p.m., the MIAA official said they are expecting to receive 53 aircraft returning from local airports.

Of this number, eight are from the Philippine Airlines/PAL Express, 30 from Cebu Pacific and 15 from Air Asia.

“We have 84 slots available so that these aircraft can be accommodated. The reason we allowed this scenario is to ensure that the majority of the flights will be operated by tomorrow,” Monreal said.

The MIAA chief added that at 11 p.m., regular flight operations will resume at NAIA.

However, the daily maintenance closure of NAIA’s runway from 1:30 AM to 3:30 AM remains suspended to accommodate flights affected by the 11 AM to 11 PM closure, provided they have approved recovery slots from the MIAA.

Monreal has reminded airline operators to be ready for recovery operations and to advise their handling agents to maximize the deployment of people to service all requirements.

He also reiterated his appeal to airline passengers not to go to the airport unless they have confirmed bookings.

He also advised passengers to contact their flight carriers for proper guidance about rebooking procedures.

NAIA, the country’s main gateway, was shut down earlier in anticipation of the effects of the typhoon.

Metro Manila is still under Tropical Cyclone Wind Signal No. 2 as ‘Tisoy’ continues to move west at 25 kilometers per hour (kph).

‘Tisoy’ was last spotted at 145 kilometers north of Coron, Palawan, packing maximum sustained winds of 130 kph and gustiness of up to 160 kph.

According to PAGASA’s 8 p.m. severe weather bulletin, the typhoon has maintained strength as it moves over Mindoro strait.

It is expected to exit the Philippine area of responsibility on Thursday afternoon.

Coronavirus scare reduces NAIA passenger traffic —MIAA

Robie de Guzman   •   February 19, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The threat of novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has reduced passenger traffic at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said Wednesday.

MIAA general manager Ed Monreal said that from January 27 to February 17, the country’s main gateway only handled a total of 1,352,692 international passengers compared to 1,624,698 passengers in the same period in 2019.

Domestic passenger traffic at NAIA also went down to 1,406,876 from January 27 to February 17 compared with 1,456,705 in the same period last year.

“It’s a lost opportunity but at the end of the day, there’s still time to recover and hopefully, we’ll be able to recover soon,” Monreal told reporters at a Palace briefing.

The MIAA chief added that the aviation sector is now slowly recovering from its losses after the government fully lifted the travel restrictions on Taiwan, and allowed Filipino overseas workers, students and permanent residents to leave for Hong Kong and Macau.

“So ngayon po, slowly recovering dahil sa mga pagbabago at panukala dahil sa mga pag-uusap ng task force na ipinatutupad ng task force and hopefully our local tourism will recover soon,” he said.

The Philippine government earlier implemented an entry ban for passengers who traveled to China and its special administrative regions, Hong Kong and Macau due to the novel coronavirus outbreak in China.

It later expanded the travel ban to include Taiwan but was eventually lifted on February 14.

On Tuesday, the government announced that Filipino workers, students and permanent residents bound for Hong Kong and Macau are exempted from the outbound travel ban “subject to certain procedural formalities.”

Meanwhile, Monreal expressed hope that the Inter-Agency Task Force on Emerging Infectious Disease will find a solution to the concerns raised by local airline companies on the safety protocols relating to the travel of its crew to Hong Kong and Macau.

Local carriers have earlier expressed concern on the reduced number of personnel if their crewmembers will constantly be required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period after their flights to and from Hong Kong and Macau.  

“Kung ganoon po ang proseso na mayroon pa ho silang quarantine yung mga crew, medyo mahihirapan po sila na magmount ng flights dito kahit po may temporary lifting ng mga pasahero na papunta ng Hong Kong at pabalik po,” he said. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)

NAIA passenger volume drops by 60% after travel ban

Aileen Cerrudo   •   February 13, 2020

The passenger volume at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has dropped by 60% after implementation of the travel ban due to COVID-19 threat.

On Thursday (February 13), almost 50 round trip flights in areas covered by the travel ban were cancelled.

Due to this, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Eddie Monreal asked local airline carriers to “prime up” their domestic flights.

“Marami tayong (We have a lot of) reduction in terms of frequency. We are asked to meet the local carriers to prime up the domestic tourism. Iyong extrang eroplano nila gamitin sa tourism (Their extra airplanes should be used for tourism),” he said.

Monreal said the local airlines will look into the said recommendation. He also said that increasing the frequency of domestic flights might help boost Philippine tourism amid the COVID-19 threat.

According to the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), they might implement the additional domestic flights by next week. The CAB is currently waiting for the formal request of local airline carriers.—AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

Airline, shipping firms urged to help impose PH ban on travelers from nCoV-hit Chinese areas

Robie de Guzman   •   February 10, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Bureau of Immigration (BI) has reiterated its appeal to airlines and shipping companies to help impose the country’s ban on travelers from China and its other regions that were hit by the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

BI Commissioner Jaime Morente made the appeal after immigration officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) blocked the entry of 36 foreign nationals who recently went to Macau, which is covered by the ban.

In a statement, the bureau said the foreigners, who flew via a Philippine Airlines flight from Phnom Penh, Cambodia, were barred entry at the NAIA Terminal 1 after immigration officers “discovered upon inspection that they were traveling as a group and that they have been to Macau last February 1.”

BI port operations division chief Grifton Medina said all 36 passengers were booked on the first available flight back to Phnom Penh.

The Philippine government on February 2 ordered the implementation of travel restrictions on passengers from China and its territories in an effort to curb the spread of the virus.

The novel coronavirus – which originated from the Chinese City of Wuhan – has killed over 900 in mainland China as of February 10 with 40,171 confirmed infections.

A report from China’s National Health Commission showed that as of February 9, Hong Kong has 36 confirmed cases with one death, while Macau has 10 with one cured and discharged from hospital. Taiwan, on the other hand, reported 18 confirmed cases with one recovery.

Under the country’s travel ban, foreigners will not be allowed to enter the Philippines if they have traveled either to China, Macau and Hong Kong within the past 14 days.

Morente said all airlines and ships have been instructed not to board passengers covered by the ban.

He added that they are now mulling the possibility of imposing fines against airlines violating the policy.

As novel coronavirus infections continue to increase, the BI said both foreign and Filipino passengers from abroad will now be required to completely fill out and submit their arrival cards.

Morente said he instructed all immigration duty supervisors to strictly enforce the new policy so the bureau can assist health and police authorities in tracking down passengers who recently travelled to nCoV-hit areas in China.

Previously, only foreign passengers arriving at the airports are required to fill out said arrival cards while Filipinos are obliged to fill out embarkation cards when they leave the country.

The bureau also said its immigration regulation division is now strictly screening applications for extension of stay of foreign tourists to check if any of them have a travel history to China, Hongkong and Macau within 14 days from their arrival.

A visa extension applicant covered by the restriction shall be turned over to the BOQ for medical assessment, the BI said.

“We have developed a series of checking, double-checking, even triple checking to ensure that we assist our health authorities in monitoring the travelers. We do what we can to help prevent the spread of this virus,” Morente said.

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