Philippines forced to close airspace due to technical issues; more than 56,000 passengers affected

Philippines forced to close airspace due to technical issues; more than 56,000 passengers affected

MANILA, Jan 1 (Bloomberg): The Philippines said hundreds of flights were cancelled or diverted after technical issues related to air traffic navigation, with planes on other international routes also prevented from passing through its airspace.

There were no commercial flights in the Philippines earlier on Sunday, according to a tweet by Flightradar24, which tracks air traffic.

More than 280 local flights were either delayed, canceled or diverted to other regional airports affecting more than 56,000 passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport as of 4 p.m. local time, the transport department said in a Facebook post.

The glitch has been partially fixed and flights into the Manila airport have resumed, the Department of Transportation said.

There were no immediate figures on the number of affected flights that would have used Philippine airspace, but a passenger on board a United Airlines plane to Singapore from San Francisco said it was diverted to Honolulu.

A Scoot Pte Ltd. flight to Singapore from Narita airport was forced to return midway, according to passenger Jon Villanueva.

The Philippine Air Traffic Management Center experienced a power outage and loss of communication, Cebu Air Inc. said in a Facebook post Sunday.

The ATMC controls all inbound and outbound flights and overflights within the Philippine airspace. Without their direction, pilots would be flying blind against other aircraft.

Flight departures and arrivals were rescheduled and passengers were advised to await instructions from the airlines, the transport department said earlier. Philippine Airlines Inc. said a number of flights will be delayed or diverted, according to a Facebook post. – Bloomberg

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