Typhoon Mario disrupts radar services at NAIA

Heavy rains and strong winds from Typhoon Mario temporarily disrupted radar services at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila early this morning. As a result, several flights were canceled or diverted.

(Photo by Renz Bulseco via The Travelling Nomad)

According to reports, the Manila radar facility went offline around 3:50 am due to extreme weather conditions.

Flights such as China Eastern from Shanghai and Jetstar Asia from Singapore were diverted to Cebu and Clark, respectively.

Poor runway visibility at NAIA exacerbated the situation.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) from 3:57 am to 12 noon on Friday, September 19th, due to the radar malfunction.

This limited communication between the NAIA tower and pilots.

However, two Philippine Airlines flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles were able to land before the outage occurred.

Radar services were fully restored at 11:23 am. Until then, CAAP only permitted aircraft with area navigation (RNAV) capabilities, such as the Airbus A320 and Boeing 737, to approach the capital's gateway airport.

Due to limited communication with air traffic controllers, RNAV operations require stricter protocols. These include larger separations between aircraft, increased pilot vigilance, and precise adherence to navigational procedures.

CAAP also restricted airspace access, temporarily reducing the number of arrivals and departures and suspending general aviation flights except for emergencies.