Clark execs: ‘Twas not easy taking in NAIA’s diverted flights
CLARK FREEPORT — The Clark International Airport (CRK) took the brunt of the anger, frustration and disappointment expressed by thousands of stranded passengers, after flights from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) were diverted here on Monday, said lawyer Emigdio Tanjuatco III, Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC) president and chief executive officer.
CRK had been designated as NAIA’s alternative gateway, making it a refuge for aircraft during typhoons and other calamities.
On Monday, a crack on the runway of NAIA caused 28 international and local flights to land at CRK beginning at 9:20 a.m.Airphil, Philippine Airlines, AirAsia Zest, Cebu Pacific, Air Juan, Asian Aerospace, Emirates, Saudia Airlines, Etihad, Qatar Airways, Turkish Airline and Oman Air landed their aircraft at CRK.
Landings at NAIA resumed at 10:45 p.m. when the repair was completed.
But 14 aircraft were still parked at CRK on Monday night.
Stranded passengers on one of the planes were described by airport sources as “irate” because they stayed seated for six hours without being served food.
Tanjuatco did not identify the airline but said the CIAC provided a holding room and food to “alleviate the suffering of passengers,” when the airline finally decided to let them disembark.
Tanjuatco was in Manila where he was finalizing details of his wedding, but he was forced to return to CRK to oversee assistance to planes diverted there.
As of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, three planes from Oman Air, Emirates and Etihad remained parked at CRK, according to Leandro Aranas, manager of the CIAC terminal operations division.
Aranas said regular flights at CRK were not affected by the emergency.
At least 10 foreign and local airlines serve routes via CRK, a United States Air Force’s facility rehabilitated by the government in 1992 following the closure of American bases in 1991 when the Philippine Senate terminated the military bases agreement. SFM