Flight delays continue at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport

Operations won't return to normal until Thursday following a technical glitch

Thousands stranded in Philippines after flights are cancelled

Thousands stranded in Philippines after flights are cancelled
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Passengers remain affected by flight delays and long waits at Ninoy Aquino International Airport, as the facility recovers from a technical glitch on New Year’s Day that left thousands stranded.

Operations at Manila’s airport are expected to normalise by Thursday. And while delays are still occurring, there are currently no flight cancellations.

A power supply problem resulted in the airport’s traffic management system going offline for several hours on Sunday, affecting more than 65,000 passengers. The problem started on Sunday morning, when the Air Traffic Management Centre, which oversees all flights in Philippine airspace, lost communication, radio, radar and internet because of the power cut.

The country's Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista apologised for the inconvenience, saying the air traffic control system would be upgraded immediately and a backup system installed.

"This is [an] air traffic management system issue," he said in a media briefing. "If you will compare us with Singapore, for one, there is a big difference, they are at least 10 years ahead of us."

On Tuesday, passengers on flights to Manila from Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Tokyo, Honk Kong, Taipei and Doha experienced delays, as did those on domestic services from Cotabato, Cebu City, Dumaguete, Panglao and Busuanga.

Flights departing from the airport have also been disrupted, with delays on services to Los Angeles, Tokyo and Abu Dhabi. Etihad Airways flight EY423, scheduled to depart from Manila at 5.35pm on Tuesday, is among those affected, according to the Manila airport's official schedule.

On the day of the power outage, Emirates flights were diverted to Hong Kong and experienced some disruption. However, none of the airline’s services were cancelled. Currently, Emirates flights are operating as normal, according to a representative, with flight EK332 scheduled to arrive in Manila at 4pm local time on Tuesday, as planned.

Cebu Pacific is still in the process of normalising its operations, according to its latest travel advisory. The airline cancelled a number of domestic services on Monday and was discouraging passengers from going to the airport in Manila, advising them instead to monitor the status of their flights online. The airline is offering refunds or free rebooking on all cancelled flights.

Updated: January 03, 2023, 10:14 AM