• PAL, CebPac flights to Cotabato remained suspended due to haze

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    COTABATO CITY: Domestic flights to and from Cotabato Airport remained cancelled for eight straight day today due to deteriorating skies of Mindanao island, the state weather bureau said Saturday.

    Charlene Jamero, Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) weather specialist, told reporters that incoming flights to Cotabato airport were still cancelled today due to “very low visibility” or almost zero visibility as a result of the week-long haze that blanketed the region.

    Cancelled flights were Cebu Pacific flights 5J 885 (Manila-Cotabato), and 5J 886 (Cotabato-Manila), and Philippine Airlines (PAL) flights PR 2959 (Manila-Cotabato), and PR 2960 (Cotabato-Manila). Also cancelled were CebPac’s 5J 887 (Manila-Cotabato and 5J 888 (Cotabato-Manila).

    Commercial flights here have been cancelled since October 17, Saturday.

    Jamero said PAGASA could not say when the skies over Cotabato airport become clearer.

    She said the low visibility status of Cotabato airport makes it difficult, and dangerous, for airplanes to land and take off.

    Kahal Kedtag, regional secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), said the haze can only be removed if heavy downpour with strong winds occur.

    Kedtag believed it will take sometime for the forest fire in Indonesia to be neutralized because most of the forests that went on fire were planted with hardwood species.

    PAL and Cebu Pacific ticketing offices here have refused to issue tickets until its main offices issue the go signal.

    “It is still uncertain when the flight will resume,” Elsie Quinto, a CebPac ticketing office clerk in Cotabato City, said. PNA

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