After tech glitch stranding 3,000, NAIA operations back to normal; navigational equipment under repair

Operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport were back to normal a day after a navigational equipment broke down on the morning of June 19, stranding 3,000 passengers, reports Inquirer.net. Naia Terminals 1 to 3 were affected according to a media advisory from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), posted on ABS-CBNNews.com.

The equipment that helps guide airplanes to land when there is poor visibility, the Very High Frequency Omni Directional Radio Range (VOR), conked out according to MIAA General Manager Melvin Matibag in a report by Inquirer.net. "It experienced technical problems because of the heavy rains lately. Short circuit may have occurred and some parts should be replaced," he said.

The VOR is still under repair. "For backup and to fix the equipment, we borrowed the power supply and antenna of Subic airport," Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) General Manager Alfonso Cusi said.

Matibag said other tools like the radar and the distance measuring equipment were used in place of the VOR. With the exception of five diverted flights, all of the more than 150 flights between 5 p.m. and midnight on June 19 landed but were delayed.

The VOR is important for nighttime landings, and when there is zero visibility and bad weather conditions. "On the occasion of heavy downpour, we have to suspend the night operations in the airport and advice airlines to cancel their flights," Cusi said.

To prepare for possible diverted flights, the CAAP asked for berthing spaces at the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark, Pampanga.

Since the VOR is still being fixed, the expected time of arrival of flights from the United States was adjusted from 4 a.m. to 6 a.m., sunrise.

Purchased 14 years ago, the VOR was supposed to be replaced next year. But with its recent breakdown, the MIAA and CAAP seek to replace the P90 million device this year, according to 24 Oras .

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