Philippines Suspends International Flight Arrivals For A Week

The Philippines has placed a week-long suspension on inbound international flights starting from 08:00 on 3rd May as…

Philippines Suspends International Flight Arrivals For A Week

The Philippines has placed a week-long suspension on inbound international flights starting from 08:00 on 3rd May as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The move was put in place as a result of congestion at international airports after 20,000 Filipinos returned home via repatriation flights.

A suspension on inbound international flights into the Philippines will last until 9th May. Photo: Contri via Wikimedia

With an overwhelming arrival rate of 2,000 Filipinos daily, the government is seeking to mitigate the situation by allowing time for decongestion.

“This measure to temporarily suspend international passenger arrivals will enable the government to decongest the processing of this number to a more manageable level, given the need to observe strict health protocols, and the fact that existing quarantine facilities are at full capacity,” noted the Philippines’ Department of Transportation (DOTr) in a statement issued yesterday.

On top of preparing for the arrival of more overseas Filipino workers and citizens, the National Task Force has ensured that the temporary suspension will allow for the government’s front-line agencies to ramp up their protocols for testing and screening. It will also “expand the existing quarantine and treatment facilities and ensure a more comfortable quarantine arrangement”.

Which flights and airports are affected?

The temporary suspension which will last until 9th May, includes all international inbound passenger flights, except in the case of enroute emergencies.

Cargo, maintenance, medical, and weather mitigation flights will remain operating as per usual.

While the repatriated Filipinos remain quarantined in Metro Manila, this suspension affects nine international airports in the country. Those affected include international airports in Manila, Davao, Clark, Kalibo, Mactan-Cebu, Iloilo, Laoag, Zamboanga, and Puerto Princesa.

Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3
Ninoy Aquino International Airport to disallow inbound international passenger flights from landing. Photo: Anton Zelenov via Wikimedia

In a separate statement by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), it was announced that international flights are ordered to request an exemption 36 hours before their scheduled departure should they wish to land or depart from airports affected by the suspension.

The Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila is urging worried foreign nationals seeking to return home to contact their airline directly for updates on their outbound flights.

Domestic travel remains suspended

All domestic inbound and outbound flights will remain banned until 15th May, following the country’s lockdown measures.

Luzon Island, home to more than 50 million of the country’s population, has been on lockdown since mid-March. The lockdown, initially set to end on 12th April was recently extended to 15th May, after the country saw an unprecedented increase in the number of coronavirus cases. In hopes of mitigating the virus outbreak, curfews and work and transport stoppage were also implemented, among the strictest measures in Asia.

As of today, the Philippines has reported 9,223 confirmed coronavirus cases, with 607 deaths in the country.

Airlines struggle to hold out

With similar flight suspensions being implemented in countries across the globe, it comes as no surprise that airlines are grappling to survive due to the COVID-19 crisis.

According to TTGAsia, Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and Philippines AirAsia – three of the country’s leading airlines – are pleading for government assistance in the form of credit guarantees and airport charge waivers.

Cebu-Pacific-Flight-Suspension
Cebu Pacific is among several airlines heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: Maksym Kozlenko via Wikimedia

Cebu Pacific, in particular, the nation’s largest budget airline, has admitted to expecting up to $78.5 million in losses following flight suspensions and reduced passenger flights.

 Do you think the temporary flight suspension is a good move by the Philippines? How long do you think the country’s airlines will take to bounce back? Let us know in the comments!

Source : Simple Flying More   

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Fire Suppression System Malfunctions In British Airways 777 Hangar

A fire suppression system failed in a British Airways hangar at Heathrow Airport earlier today. Video footage shows…

Fire Suppression System Malfunctions In British Airways 777 Hangar

A fire suppression system failed in a British Airways hangar at Heathrow Airport earlier today. Video footage shows the hangar floor covered in a sea of fire retardant foam. The incident occurred while a British Airways 777-200ER was parked in the hangar.

A fire suppression system in a British Airways hangar at Heathrow was accidentally triggered yesterday (not pictured). Photo: British Airways.

A large mess for someone to clean up

The footage, posted on Aeronews, shows foam spraying from at least three outlets. One outlet was directing foam over the parked aircraft’s wheels. The 777-200ER in the hangar was G-YMMB. The footage shows a hangar mostly empty of people, and it does not appear there were any injuries.

VIDEO / Today’s incident from Heathrow airport: a fire suppression system apparently malfunctioned at TBJ or Tech 6, in…

Publisert av Aeronews Søndag 3. mai 2020

Simple Flying approached British Airways regarding the incident who told us:

One of our fire prevention systems in our hanger experienced a technical issue causing foam to be dispersed as part of a safety feature.

Challenges in managing fire prevention and safety to Heathrow

The size of Heathrow and the amount of activity there present some unique fire prevention challenges.

“There is a huge amount of change at Heathrow on a daily basis,” Gary Moorshead,  chief fire officer of Heathrow’s fire service, previously told Airport Technology.

Heathrow’s in-house fire fighting service is responsible for all aviation and non-aviation fire-related safety planning and responses inside the airport’s precincts. It does this within the frameworks set by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) guidelines and National Firefighter operational standards.

OOOPS! ‪A fire suppression system apparently malfunctioned today at Heathrow (TBJ or Tech 6), in the hangar where a…

Publisert av Aeronews Søndag 3. mai 2020

As Heathrow has grown and become busier than ever, the airport has continued to invest in fire safety and fire fighting equipment. That includes hardware such as vehicles, alarms, PPE equipment, and automated systems like fire suppression systems.

“We are always collaborating with manufacturers of appliance technology and equipment in order to maintain a rapid response to incidents,” said Mr Mooshead.

Heathrow has a history of false alarms

Heathrow has long had a reputation as a source of false fire alarms and callouts. Today’s incident has had minimal impact on no-one other than British Airways. But when automated fire systems go rogue in the wrong places, it can have a significant impact on a lot of people.

In July 2017, massive disruptions occurred when a false fire alarm caused Terminal 3 to be evacuated. Passengers already on planes waiting to be pushed back were taken off and escorted out of the terminal. Dozens of planes were delayed. Some misinformation saw some passengers told it was a bomb scare.

BA-777-Hangar-Malfunction
The malfunction may see the aircraft in the hangar getting a thorough check-up. Photo: British Airways.

But the London Fire Brigade thinks that for all the false alarms, automated alarms and fire suppression systems are powerful early warning tools and have the potential to save lives.

Maybe minor, but probably expensive

The problem for British Airways is that today’s incident may be an expensive malfunction. G-YMMB is still flying, albeit on a slimmed-down schedule. The aircraft jetted in from New York Kennedy on Thursday and has been parked at Heathrow since. The plane may now need to hang around Heathrow for a while longer.

While seemingly minor, the aircraft could need a thorough check, particularly around its undercarriage and engines. The engines were not covered at the time of the incident. At best, it’s going to be an enormous clean up for hangar staff clearing away the mess on the floor.

Today’s incident continues a series of minor events besetting British Airways. The cause of the failure of the hangar fire suppression system is being investigated.

What do you make of yesterday’s incident? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

Source : Simple Flying More   

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