By Dexter Cabalza, Inquirer News
The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) apologized to passengers for the inconvenience brought about by a seven-hour long power interruption at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).
The power outage, which began around 11 p.m. on Friday until 6 a.m. on Saturday, disrupted airport operations as the airlines had to resort to manual check-in and loading of baggage, while processing of passengers at immigration took longer than usual.
A total of 31 flights—16 international and 15 domestic flights—were affected by the incident, MIAA said in a statement on Saturday.
Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista and MIAA general manager Cesar Chiong inspected Naia 3 early on Saturday and assured the public that action is now being undertaken to prevent recurrence of the incident.
The MIAA management together with power distributor Manila Electric Company (Meralco) conducted a joint probe to determine the cause of the problem, which was eventually traced to Naia Terminal 3 power substation.
The last time such a long power interruption hit the country’s premiere airport was in April 2016 when a five-hour outage, also at Terminal 3, caused the cancellation of 82 domestic flights, delayed 79 international flights and affected more than 15,000 passengers.
That outage occurred after a Meralco substation serving the area in Pasay City tripped at around 8:45 p.m. of a busy Saturday, but when electricity was restored in most of Pasay, the airport remained without power.
Exhausted passengers just lay on the floor as check-in counters and luggage carousels shut down. Long queues formed outside the terminal as entrances were closed until power was restored.
PHOTOS courtesy of Enrique Soriano shows the chaotic scenes at the NAIA 3