Manila: Twenty-one domestic and international flights in the Philippines were delayed after the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) issued a red lightning alert twice on Sunday afternoon.
The management issued the red lightning alert from 2:24 p.m. to 3:11 p.m., and from 3:43 p.m. to 4:03 p.m.
Despite the delay, no cancelled flights were reported due to the alert.
During a red lightning alert, the ramp movement for both aircraft and ramp personnel is temporarily suspended. This is a safety measure to prevent any untoward incident from happening when lightning is prevalent in the immediate area and may endanger passengers, personnel or flight operations.
A red lightning alert was also issued by the MIAA on June 9th which resulted in the delay of a number of domestic and international flights that were subsequently diverted to Clark International Airport.
This prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to conduct a surprise inspection at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in the wee hours of June 10. The president ordered operations at the Sangley Point airport to start immediately to ease congestion at the country's main gateway.
Meanwhile, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugtade, who is in charge of preparing Sangley Point, clarified that the former US naval facility in Cavite should not be considered as the only answer to ease congestion in the four terminals of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
“To decongest NAIA 1, 2, 3, and 4, you have to have a basket of approaches and solutions to handle that,” he told local radio.
Aside from Sangley, Tugade said his agency will also be looking at Clark Airport in Pampanga and the Bulacan Airport.
“That is why there’s Clark, where its second terminal is expected to be completed by the second quarter of next year and will become operational,” Tugade said.
“That’s why there’s the Bulacan Airport which we are looking forward to having the Swiss challenge so that we can break ground before the end of this year,” he added.
Tugade emphasised that there were various ways to decongest the four terminals of NAIA besides transferring domestic flights to Sangley Air Base.
“There are several ways to decongest Metro Manila and NAIA Terminal 1, 2, 3, and 4),” Tugade said.
Tugade also stated that his agency was currently working on completing a ferry station to transfer passengers from NAIA to Sangley but is also considering the use of Point-to-Point (P2P) buses.