The government office responsible for managing the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Pasay City assured passengers today that the airport is protected against lightning.
Their statement comes after a total of 36 domestic and international flights were delayed yesterday following the country’s official weather bureau’s issuance of a red lightning alert at 12:30am, reported The Philippine Daily Inquirer. Two flights, one from Dubai and the other from Davao City, were diverted to Clark International Airport in Pampanga also due to the red lightning alert.
In a statement that appeared on its official Facebook page, Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal said that all four terminals of the NAIA are protected with 20 lightning arresters, which were upgraded in 2016.
“These devices are checked every three (3) years in adherence to internationally prescribed standards on lightning protection for vital facilities,” Monreal said.
Lightning arresters are devices that protect the electrical and telecommunication facilities of buildings from the damaging effects of lightning. It captures lightning surges and brings them to the ground.
Still, airport ground personnel are prohibited to work during lightning strikes because the current could travel through the pavement. This is why ramp operations have to be suspended in case of lightning strikes. The suspension of ramp operations cause diversions and flight delays.
“While we are duty bound to keep flights safe, we are also duty bound to protect the lives of airport personnel while at work especially those working in areas where exposure to environmental hazards is greater,” said Monreal.
He then asked the public for their understanding when ramp operations have to be stopped.
Named after the national hero Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., the NAIA is the only airport serving Manila. In 2017, it served 42 million passengers.