Lightning bolts delay 26 flights at NAIA

A recurring lightning at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport caused the delay of 26 international and domestic flights last Tuesday, according to the Manila International Airport Authority.

The MIAA also reported that a Macroasia ground handling employee identified as Joel Arejola, 30, was injured after falling off a ladder during the lightning strike which happened around 6:58 p.m. at the Bay 12 area.

“He fell off from the ladder while detaching ground power unit (GPU) from the aircraft,” a staff from the MIAA Media Affairs Division said.

MIAA general manager Eddie Monreal earlier said that the Red Lightning Alert scheme was adopted at the airport following the death of an employee who was struck by a lightning bolt on the tarmac of Terminal 3 at the height of a thunderstorm in 2014.

Following the tragedy at the tarmac, the weather bureau installed a Lightning Activity System (LAS), which tells them whether to raise the yellow or red alert warning.

Monreal said that the NAIA has the same policy in 2012, but it was amended in 2016 due to the accident.

President Rodrigo Duterte had made a directive to transfer the domestic flights to Sangley Point in Cavite after a Red Lightning Alert status caused several flight delays and cancellations at the NAIA early this month.

Workers are now in the process of finishing the asphalt overlay of the runway of the new facility, as well as the construction of the Passenger Terminal Building (PTB), a drainage system, and the hangars.

The construction of additional facilities at the Sangley Airport, which started last year and is now 48.68% complete, is in line with the directive of President Duterte to accelerate the decongestion of the country’s premier airport in Manila.

Transportation officials said the general aviation users will be notified to fully relocate to Clark International Airport and Sangley Airport to decongest NAIA and allow for improvements and additions in the main gateway.

The agency said that it is now working on a basket of solutions to decongest NAIA, through airport infrastructure developments in Clark and Sangley, and the construction of the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan.

Topics: Ninoy Aquino International Airport , MIAA Media Affairs Division , Lightning Activity System
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