Manila: The Philippines restored air traffic control operations after hundreds of flights were cancelled or diverted following technical issues that forced authorities to close the country's airspace.
The Air Traffic Management Center at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport resumed normal operations on Sunday following a power outage, the Department of Transportation said in a Facebook post. A problem with the power supply earlier in the day led to a "loss of communication, radio, radar, and internet," Philippine Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista said.
More than 280 local flights were either delayed, canceled or diverted to other regional airports affecting around 56,000 passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila as of 4 pm local time. Normal operations resumed as of 5:50 pm, while equipment restoration is still ongoing, according to the Department of Transportation.
The ATMC controls all inbound and outbound flights and overflights within the Philippine airspace. Without their direction, pilots would be flying blind against other aircraft. There were no commercial flights in the Philippines earlier on Sunday, according to a tweet by Flightradar24, which tracks air traffic.
There were no immediate figures on the total number of affected flights that would have used the Philippine airspace, but a passenger on board a United Airlines Holdings Inc. plane to Singapore from San Francisco said it was diverted to Honolulu. A Scoot Pte Ltd. flight to Singapore from Narita airport was forced to return midway, according to passenger Jon Villanueva.
Eight flights bound for Manila, Cebu and other destinations in the Philippines had been rerouted to Hong Kong airport as of 6 pm local time, a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Airport Authority said by phone.
Flight departures and arrivals were rescheduled and passengers were advised to await instructions from the airlines, the Philippine transport department said earlier. Philippine Airlines said a number of flights would be delayed or diverted, according to a Facebook post.