Naia chaos brings thousands of passengers misery

WARNED Passengers are waiting for their flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. More than 260 flights have been canceled since Thursday night when a plane from Xiamen Air Boeing left the runway. -MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

At least 69 flights at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) were canceled on Sunday, causing more misery for at least 13,000 passengers more than a day after a Xiamen Air Boeing 737-800 from a muddy field at the

The canceled local and international flights were an addition to the more than 200 flights that were scrapped on Friday and Saturday, while airlines tried to normalize the operations.

The airlines were shaken because of disturbed grids because of the crash of the Xiamen plane in a mud pool on Thursday evening.

One of the canceled flights was that Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte would have taken to Legazpi City, the researcher has learned.

The cancellation of her flight led to the postponement of the launch of her Hugpong ng Pagbabago political party at Legazpi City Convention Center on Sunday.

Another passenger who was affected by the cancellation of flights was a doctor, who was present at her father's birthday in Legazpi on Saturday.

Dr. Menchie L. Sarmiento decided to go to the bus station on Sunday shortly after an airline told her and other passengers that their flight from 6:20 to Manila had been canceled.

A ticket attendant at Bicol Isarog Liner was amazed at some 12 passengers coming from the airport to line up to book a trip to Manila, she said.

"I feel sorry for a female passenger, who would leave for Singapore on Sunday evening, who could not buy a bus ticket for the morning trip to Manila," the doctor said.

Stuck at Naia

Others were in dire need, especially those stuck in Naia since Saturday.

Michail Lascano, 20, had to leave on a Jetstar flight to Singapore with her family at 9.45 pm on Saturday. She was still attached to Terminal 1 on Sunday afternoon.

"We got our port number at 12.30 and we stayed there until 02.00," said Lascano.

"By 2 am they told us to transfer … By 5 pm, the pilot announced that due to the traffic situation, flying to Singapore would be impossible and that we would have to wait at least 13 hours for more announcements, she added.

Lascano, who was traveling with her mother and two younger brothers, did not get her first meal from the airline until 3.00 pm – almost 18 hours after they arrived at Naia.

She said that conditions on Terminal 1 had improved slightly since last night, when "80 percent of the floor was filled with people who sat and slept."

Recovery flights

Naia struggled on Sunday to regain a sense of normality, where airlines struggled to mount recovery flights and airport officials who tried to navigate through an "abnormal and unpredictable situation, while the scores of passengers remained stranded."

Ed Monreal, manager of the International Airport Authority of Manila (MIAA), said that since the reopening of the runway at 11:30 am on Saturday, 681 flights, or about 136,200 passengers, the premiere gateway of the country had flown and flown.

One of those on Sunday To fly to Manila, was businessman Fernando Alido.

20 hours in Mactan [19659003] Alido, who on 13 August with his family and office staff went to Cebu for a conference, had to spend 20 hours at Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

"The treatment of the situation by the airline and airport was unsatisfactory," Alido said on his arrival in Manila on Sunday afternoon.

Alido's personnel left on Friday after the Xiamen plane was removed from the field, but he and his family were booked on a flight that was supposed to leave at 4.55 pm on Saturday.

Asked to disembark

The flight was delayed until 7:00 pm, then 8:00 pm, then at 9:00 in the morning. The passengers were only allowed to board the aircraft at 22:00. But after an hour on board the aircraft, passengers were asked to disembark when the flight was canceled due to the chaos in Manila.

Alido, his wife and young son were not able to leave Cebu until 12:32. on Sunday after signing a quit claim in exchange for P3,000 and three one-way tickets to any local destination.

Monreal told Sunday to reporters that Naia Terminals 2, 3 and 4 "would return to normal," while congestion at Terminal 1 was significantly reduced.

New disruption of Xiamen Air

In the rush to be more and more restless passengers from Naia, Xiamen Air ended up giving headaches to airport officials when on Saturday it brought four recovery flights without compromise with the MIAA.

Monreal said the airline had not requested permission for the four new flights, which again disturbed the operations due to the domino effect it had on limited parking spaces, equipment and

At least 35 flights, mostly from international destinations , were diverted on Friday and Saturday to Clark International Airport in the province of Pampanga.

More than 8,000 passengers disembarked and were busled to Manila.

Congressional probe

As expected, the Senate and the House of Representatives will investigate the Naia snafu.

Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate public services panel, said she would like to request a statement from the airport authorities about the "paralysis of the country's main gateway" because the removal of the jammed passenger jet was stretched for two days.

Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, chairman of the House transport committee, said the Thursday evening incident should incite the government to accelerate the construction of Naia's twin airport outside Metro Manila. – WITH REPORTS OF DJ YAP AND MARLON RAMOS IN MANIL; SHIENA BARRAMEDA; EN TONETTE OREJAS AND ALLAN MACATUNO

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