LONDON – A power outage which affected airport and Air Traffic Control (ATC) services at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) on New Year’s Day is to be the subject of a government enquiry.
The outage resulted in over 360 international and regional flights to be cancelled, delayed or diverted as surrounding airspace was closed.
The MNL airport closure left tens of thousands of passengers stranded at a peak travel period over the New Year weekend.
Following the incident, Cesar Chiong, general manager of the Manila International Airport Authority told the ANC news channel: “The outage was the result of the unprecedented failure of both primary and secondary power supplies.”
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) had stated that the primary power supply failure had disrupted the air traffic control system. Although there is a back-up power supply, it reportedly failed to provide sufficient power to restore the system.
Senator Grace Poe subsequently took to social media to announce that an enquiry would be held into the incident to get to the bottom of exactly what happened at Ninoy Aquino International Airport and to ensure the event is not repeated in the future.
In her statement of 2 January, Senator Poe said: “This is a national security concern. Thousands of lives depend on the efficiency and competence of CAAP.”
“We will conduct an enquiry to determine who is liable and what we need to do to avoid the malfunction from happening again”
According to Philippines news source Philstar Global, Senator Poe who the Senate Committee on Public Services is now pushing for a legislative enquiry into the incident.
Poe reportedly observed that the Manila Electric Co. or Meralco already noted that they found no issues from their end amid the NAIA crisis.
“The failure then points to [Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines] and their navigation equipment,” the Senator said.