WE will get to today's topic in a few moments, but a rather unusual event over the weekend deserves a comment. That the Philippines managed to capture the attention of the entire world, if only briefly, on the first day of 2023 might be considered a harbinger of things to come, except that it was for an embarrassing reason: For most of the day, the entire airspace of the Philippines was closed to traffic due to a failure of the communications and control system at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport that cascaded to the Air Traffic Management Center (ATMC).

From shortly before 10 a.m. until after 4 p.m., there were no planes moving anywhere in the Philippines; between 4 p.m. and about 8 p.m., a few international flights were able to leave or arrive at Manila, but only at widely spaced intervals. The most number of flights moving at any one time that I observed during that time period — using my trusty FlightRadar 24 app — was six, mainly arriving long-distance flights that probably had no choice but to keep moving due to the risk of running out of fuel.

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