NAIA closure notices scrutinized in House hearing on Xiamen mishap

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 05 2018 11:39 AM

MANILA – There could have been "lapses" in the issuance of runway closure notices following a mishap that involved a Xiamen Airlines jet at the capital's main airport, its manager told lawmakers on Wednesday.

A notice to airmen or NOTAM was first issued at noon on Aug. 17 and was extended at least 3 more times until noon of Aug. 18, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal said.

Immediately declaring a 24-hour closure would have been easier but "declaring NOTAMs and estimates [are] basically based on the prevailing situation," he said.

"Malamang mayroong pagkukulang doon dahil nagpabago-bago kami ng NOTAM," he said.

(There could have been lapses there because our NOTAMs kept on changing.)

Passengers were allowed to check-in, but several extensions of the NOTAM resulted in congestion at the airport, said Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, Chairman of the Committee on Transportation that led the investigation.

"There were several Notams that led to chaotic situation," Sarmiento said. 

Thousands were stranded after the Xiamen Airlines Boeing 737 overshot the runway on Aug. 17, forcing the closure of NAIA for nearly 2 days.