TYPHOON “Nina” on Monday grounded 344 international and domestic flights and left thousands of passengers stranded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).
Airport authorities said 90 percent of planes were unable to take off, while 88 domestic and international flights suffered delays.
As early as 6 a.m. Monday, 270 domestic and 36 international flights of Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific Air and AirAsia Zest were cancelled because of bad weather, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) general manager Ed Monreal said.
Monreal said incoming flights from foreign airlines were also cancelled, except those that had morning schedules such as China Airlines and Jetstar from Taipei and Singapore, respectively.
Foreign carriers who were able to land in the morning returned to their points of origin before Typhoon “Nina” made landfall in Batangas, he said.
MIAA officials said they would have closed the NAIA runway if the typhoon’s wind speed reached 50 knots per hour. At 10 a.m. on Monday, speed reached 25 knots per hour. Wind speed went down to 10 knots per hour by noon.
By 3 p.m., takeoffs and landings resumed. Morning flight schedules of Eva Air, Gulf Air, Korean Airlines and Asiana Airlines were said to have been moved to the afternoon.
NAIA terminal 3 was said to have been most affected by flight cancellations because majority were passengers of Cebu Pacific, the terminal’s biggest user. As of 2 p.m., Cebu Pacific had cancelled 196 domestic and 12 international flights.
At NAIA terminal 2, PAL cancelled 24 international and 78 domestic flights.
AirAsia Zest cancelled 20 flights, Skyjet cancelled four and Air Swift, six.
China Southern scrapped five flights to Manila and Oman Air cancelled one flight.
Aviation officials on Saturday urged airlines to constantly inform their passengers of the status of the flights, and coordinate with airport authorities on aircraft evacuation.