'Partial' operations for NAIA eyed as terminal 'almost' cleared of Taal ash

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 13 2020 11:26 AM | Updated as of Jan 13 2020 12:06 PM

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MANILA — Authorities on Monday are "almost done" removing volcanic ash from the country's main airport, which was shut until further notice, its manager said.

Regulators and airline representatives will meet to discuss putting NAIA on "partial operability," which will give clearance to departing flights first to free up slots for arrivals, he said.

"We are almost done po sa pagki-clear ng ashfall po sa ating (clearing the ashfall from our) runway," said Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal.

"Ginagawa naman ho natin lahat ng magagawa na magkaroon po tayo ng partial operability, pero unang-una po, kailangan sigurado tayo sa pagbibigay ng clearance," Monreal told DZMM.

(We are doing everything so we can have partial operability, but we need to be sure first of giving clearance.)

Volcanic ash risks stalling jet engines, prompting authorities to cancel hundreds of flights at NAIA.

If partial operability is restored, travelers should confirm their flights with airlines first before going to the airport, Monreal said. 

Located in the middle of a picturesque lake south of the capital, the Taal Volcano on Sunday belched a massive ash cloud that drifted across parts of Luzon, including Metro Manila. 

Seismology institute Phivolcs earlier raised the danger level posed by Taal Volcano to 4 out of a possible 5, meaning "hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days."

The Philippines lies on the "Ring of Fire," a belt of volcanoes circling the Pacific Ocean that is also prone to earthquakes.

One of the most active volcanoes in the Philippines, Taal has erupted more than 30 times in the past 5 centuries, most recently in 1977. An eruption in 1911 killed 1,500 people and one in 1754 lasted for a few months. With a report from Reuters