Manila: A five hour electricity outage struck Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Saturday evening, causing massive flight disruption and inconvenience to thousands of passengers.
According to the Manila International Airport Authority, which is in charge of operations of the aerodrome, NAIA Terminal 3 is now back to normal operations after a power outage struck on Saturday at 8.45pm.
“The terminal started operating on full power as of 2am Sunday, following a technical glitch with the airport’s electric source,” the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said in its Facebook page on Sunday.
At least 70 flights, including several from international carriers Emirates and Delta as well as domestic airliner Cebu Pacific, were affected, causing massive disruptions in schedules.
The authority said that a substation of the power utility Meralco at NAIA tripped, causing Terminal 3 to lose power.
“The substation was able to relay stable power to the terminal starting 12.30am.
Terminal facilities were fully functional an hour and a half later,” the MIAA said.
The NAIA sources its electrical supply from private utility contractors — the same firm in charge of providing power to the Metro Manila grid.
In the case of NAIA 3, it has no separate emergency power supply that could kick in whenever there is an electricity outage.
As a result of absence of electrical supply in the entire NAIA 3, other services such as baggage carousels and X-ray luggage scanning machines were inoperable.
Communication equipment as well as computers of the offices of airlines at the terminal were also not functioning.
As the terminal’s passenger processing and queuing areas moving at a snail’s pace, thieves reportedly struck to take advantage of the confusion and darkness.
According to a report by ABS-CBN News a passenger had complained losing some items in his baggage.
“The padlocks securing my baggage’s contents were destroyed and some of the items inside were missing,” said an irate passenger.
Most of the passengers were forced to sleep on the floor.
Authorities had closed all exit passages to the passenger areas, preventing them from getting out.
Only Terminal 3 was affected by the power outage. Flight schedules at Terminals 1, 2 and 4 were unaffected.
Two years ago, the Philippines passed its law protecting the rights of passengers. It is unclear, however, how this would impact on the recent incident at the NAIA 3.