At least 45 passengers were stranded at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and 83 flights were canceled during the airport’s 24-hour closure due to Typhoon Rolly on November 1, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) said on Monday.
MIAA Media Affairs Division head Jess Martinez said 31 of the stranded passengers were domestic passengers and 14 were passengers of international flights.
“They stayed at the airport during the 24-hour closure, but some of them already took their flights as the airport resumed operations since 10 a.m. (Monday),” Martinez told the Philippine News Agency (PNA).
The MIAA reported that the country’s main gateway did not sustain any damage during the typhoon.
Local carriers, for their part, have informed their passengers regarding flight cancellations and airport closure, which the MIAA announced on Saturday night.
In an interview with PNA, AirAsia Philippines spokesperson Steve Dailisan said the carrier has rescheduled some of its flights ahead of the threat of Typhoon Rolly in Metro Manila.
“However, a number of our passengers bound for Iloilo at 5 a.m. on Sunday were not able to board the aircraft because they lack the documents required by the province,” he said.
AirAsia Philippines immediately rebooked them to the next available flight to Iloilo on November 6, Dailisan added.
Dailisan said rebooking the affected passengers was the only thing AirAsia can do for them since the passengers’ lack of requirements was not the carrier’s fault.
“This is also why information is so important for the passengers. They need to be well informed of specific LGU (local government unit) requirements. There were instances, for example, when passengers thought the RT-PCR (reverse transcription – polymerase chain reaction) test is just the same as the rapid test,” Dailisan said.
He said AirAsia Philippines, as of Monday, has no more stranded passengers.
“We have initiated the recovery flights to Manila. Our regular flight to Cebu also resumed normally,” he said.
Meanwhile, Cebu Pacific (CEB) passengers who were stranded during the 24-hour closure were provided with meals, and prioritized for rebooking to the earliest flights available, Candice Iyog, vice president for CEB’s Marketing and Customer Experience, told the PNA.
Philippine Airlines (PAL) spokesperson Cielo Villaluna, on the other hand, said replacement flights were mounted for several of the canceled flights.
She noted that affected passengers have the option to rebook, reroute, or refund their tickets within 30 days from their original flight schedule.
“For rebook or reroute fees to be waived, passengers must rebook or reroute on the same cabin class. Another option is (to) convert the ticket cost to a travel voucher for use within one year from original flight date,” Villaluna said.
Based on the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, flight cancellations due to a severe weather condition are not the airlines’ fault. Thus, the airlines are not obliged to provide passengers with hotel accommodations.
Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) chief legal officer, Wyrlou Samodio, said that as of Monday, the CAB have not received complaints due to canceled flights while NAIA was closed for 24 hours.
“Wala pa naman nagrereport sa amin. Bukas [Tuesday] pa namin machecheck lahat pagpasok sa office (We have yet to receive report. We will check it tomorrow),” Samodio said in a text message.
The MIAA said airline operators were asked to submit within Monday the recovery flights they intend to mount.
It added that priority is given to flights scheduled for Monday. Next priority will be for flights with no passengers on board and are just returning to Manila so the aircraft can be used for flights.
In a statement, MIAA general manager Ed Monreal reminded operators that flights submitted for slotting will be flown as scheduled, as the management avoids passengers to be stranded in airport terminals due to last minute cancellations. (PNA)