Travelers may have to bear with flight delays and cancellations | Global News

Travelers may have to bear with flight delays and cancellations

By: - Reporter / @JeromeAningINQ
/ 07:08 AM November 12, 2017

WARM WELCOME Philippine Military Academy cadets in formation as Cambodia’s premier arrives at Clark airport. — NIÑO JESUS ORBETA

People with flights to catch or relatives to fetch at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) may have to bear with delays, or even flight cancellations, because of requests by at least eight foreign leaders to land at Naia for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit in Manila.

According to at least two sources, Naia authorities were on standby to accommodate landing requests today for the leaders, including US President Donald Trump, who would be in Manila for the Asean summit.

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This could delay or cancel flights departing or arriving at the country’s main gateway, according to one source.

Two sources from two government agencies, who requested anonymity as they lack clearance to speak to media on the matter, said Trump’s plane, Air Force One, was almost sure to land at Naia. The US Embassy rents a private hangar at Naia’s Balabag Ramp for visiting American officials.

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Advance parties

Advance parties of leaders from China, Japan, South Korea, India, Brunei, Singapore and Laos have expressed intention to land their planes at Naia instead of Clark International Airport in Pampanga, which was at least 98 km away, according to the sources.

Embassy officials from one country have even specified where their leader’s plane will land at Naia.

“Maybe it’s because their  hotels are in Manila and the summit is yet to begin on Monday, so why not land in Manila instead of convoying all the way from Clark,” one of the sources said.

Officials of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) were believed to be making last-minute preparations to accommodate the landing requests.

No road closure

“These, of course, are subject to the President’s desire that as much as possible, no commercial flights must be affected at Naia and no roads will be closed for hours which would inconvenience motorists and commuters,” one of the sources said.

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“That’s why Clark was designated as the arrival and departure site. But they’re our guests so as the host, we’ll have to see if their request can be accommodated,” the other source said.

He said no road closures were needed as the overhead Naia Expressway could accommodate the arriving dignitaries’ convoys while Trump was also sure to use his official helicopter, Marine One, instead of traveling by land in Manila.

Both sources also said the initial plan was to hold brief arrival ceremonies for the leaders without media coverage.

They also said passengers set to depart or arrive at Naia on Sunday should be prepared for delays to accommodate the landings of the leaders’ planes.

“It would be more of a ‘stop and go’ rule,” said one source.

“The skies will be cleared briefly and leaders’ planes will be given maybe 10 minutes to land and then regular operations resume. But some departure flights could be cancelled if leaders’ planes would be arriving within minutes of each other. A lengthy delay will cause a chain reaction and affect other flights’ schedules,” the source said.

Officials of Caap and MIAA declined to comment on the planned Manila landings and referred all queries to summit organizers.

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TAGS: 31st ASEAN summit, ASEAN, ASEAN 2017, NAIA flights
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