NAIA flights disrupted by lightning alerts amid rainy season

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) is seeking the public’s understanding and cooperation as flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) face disruptions due to lightning alerts during the rainy season.

With the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announcing the start of the rainy season on May 29, significant rains and thunderstorms are expected nationwide. On that day alone, NAIA experienced six lightning alerts, each lasting an average of one hour and two minutes, during which a Lightning Red Alert was issued, temporarily suspending all flight and ground movements.

“Airports worldwide adopt their respective lightning alert level systems to protect the lives of airport workers at the ramp. NAIA also has its own,” said MIAA General Manager Eric Ines. “Apart from the lightning alert system and for their added protection, we also have lightning shelters around the ramp area where workers can seek cover when a lightning red alert is issued.”

During a Lightning Red Alert, all flight and ground operations at the ramp are halted until the alert is downgraded to a Lightning Yellow Alert, signaling that operations can resume. This measure is taken to ensure the safety of airport workers.

Ines explained that while commercial airplanes are equipped to withstand and protect against lightning strikes, the lives of ramp workers are equally important. NAIA has 20 lightning arresters strategically located around the ramp area to protect electrical and telecommunication facilities from power surges caused by lightning strikes.

The airport chief urged airline operators to make announcements on board aircraft when they are held on the ground or while en route to NAIA, ensuring passengers are kept informed about the situation.

As the rainy season continues, MIAA emphasized the importance of prioritizing safety over convenience, and appealed for the public’s cooperation during lightning-related disruptions at NAIA.

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