THE MANILA International Airport Authority (MIAA) said airlines are not obliged to serve food and water to stranded passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), but hoped they would acknowledge their “moral obligation.”
Alam ko merong expense ‘to…. Hindi ko inoobliga sila, hindi minamanduhan. But at the end of the day, let’s look at the side of humanitarian reason. Siguro dapat magawan ng aksyon na asikasuhin naman ang ating mga pasahero (I know this would entail expense….They are not obligated or mandated. But at the end of the day, let’s look at the side of humanitarian reason. Maybe we should work to assist our passengers),” MIAA General Manager Ed V. Monreal said in a press briefing on Sunday.
He said he knows airlines are not at fault for last Friday’s airport chaos, but tending to the needs of the passengers is “more of a moral obligation.”
“At the end of the day, kliyente nila ‘yun at mga pasahero in the future (At the end of the day, those are their clients and passengers in the future),” Mr. Monreal added.
Although it could not provide an official estimate, MIAA said on Sunday thousands were still stranded because of flight delays and cancellations following the more than 24-hour closure of runway 06/24 from early Friday morning to late Saturday morning.
A Xiamen Airlines (XiamenAir) aircraft which landed in NAIA at 11:55 p.m. on Thursday experienced a “runway excursion” after its landing, which led to the runway’s closure so the aircraft could be hauled away.
The Chinese aircraft was finally removed from the incident site on Saturday morning, allowing for runway 06/24 to resume operations at 11:30 a.m.
The Department of Transportation (DoTr) issued an apology on Saturday. Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade said in a statement, “It is a regrettable experience, which is not (to) our own liking, nor of our own making. I am sorry. We did our very best to address the situation.”
For his part, Senator Joseph Victor G. Ejercito said in a mobile phone message to reporters, “At this point, the quickest solution for Manila’s airport problems is to have a twin airport system between Clark and NAIA, just like Haneda and Narita in Tokyo.”
“(We) need to fast-track PNR (Philippine National Railways) North Rail Line to Clark and the construction of the P12 billion terminal building,” he added.
Under a twin or dual airport system, both NAIA and CIA will be used as the main gateways to the Philippines. In his first State of the Nation Address in 2016, President Rodrigo R. Duterte said he wanted some operations of domestic and international airlines to be transferred to CIA but also noted there should be railway.
Senator Grace S. Poe-Llamanzares, chair of the Senate committee on public services, is set to file a resolution on Monday seeking an inquiry into the runway mishap.
“What is or is there a standard operating procedure in these kinds of accidents? This is not the first time that a plane has skidded off the runway and it certainly won’t be the last,” she said in a statement on Sunday.
She said Transport Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed V. Monreal, airline executives, and other affected passengers will be invited in the hearing.
Ms. Llamanzares will also tackle a related resolution filed by Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian on the status of Metro Manila airports and the other government’s plans in the aviation industry. She will also seek updates on the status of the P250 billion plan of a private consortium to rehabilitate and upgrade NAIA. — Denise A. Valdez and Camille A. Aguinaldo