NAIA's Lightning Dilemma

27 July 2015

The Philippines premiere airport almost went to a halt yesterday afternoon after adverse weather disturbance caused flight and grounds operations to halt temporarily due to threats of lightning strikes.

Ground evacuation is now mandatory procedure for safety of ground crews after an aviation mechanic Sheldon Balang, employed by Aviation Partnership was hit by lightning last year while preparing the Cebu Pacific aircraft for departure at Terminal 3.

The thunderstorm alert was raised around 4:00pm and lifted at 7:00pm.

The effect at the airport was however massive, causing flight delays in arrivals and departure affecting more than 50 flights of different airline operators.

Multiple stacks of arriving aircraft was made on holding pattern due to the weather.

Cebu Pacific alone reported 25 flights being affected with stranded passengers inside 12 A320 aircraft sitting at the tarmac while rest lined up along the taxiway from runways 13 to 31 Sunday evening.

Passengers from arriving aircraft that are not serviced by tubes both from Terminal 3 and 4 were also not permitted to deplane due to safety concerns until about 7:00pm, but Cebu Pacific lifted suspension only about 9:00pm as a safety precaution.

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