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    'Losses to tourism and business are appalling': travelers stranded at Manila airport

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    Chaos erupted on New Year’s Day in the Philippines after a severe power outage temporarily affected air traffic control at the country’s largest airport. Nearly 300 flights were delayed in Manila.

    Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) is the main gateway for travelers to the Philippines serving the capital city of Manila and the entire region.

    The technical issues were first identified Sunday morning, the airport’s operator, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), said in a statement.

    A total of 282 flights were delayed, canceled or diverted to other regional airports, and about 56,000 passengers were unable to reach their destination on time on New Year’s Day. It is not yet clear how many spans were affected, Reuters said.

    At a press conference on Sunday evening, January 1, Philippine Transportation Minister Jaime Batista apologized for the inconvenience caused to passengers and said that the airport’s central air traffic control system had suffered a major power outage. He added that despite having a backup power supply, it did not provide enough power.

    The incident sparked a public outcry online, with many, including politicians, wondering how and why the power outage happened in the first place.

    “What a way to celebrate the New Year at our nation’s airports,” Philippine Senator Grace Poe wrote in an official tweet on Monday. “We will conduct an investigation to find out who is responsible and how we can avoid this happening again.”

    Manny V. Pangilinan, a Filipino businessman, tweeted that he was returning to Manila from Tokyo, but the plane returned to Haneda Airport due to “NAIA’s radar and navigation aids not working.”

    “Six hours of useless flight,” he said. “The inconvenience to travelers and the loss to tourism and business is appalling.”

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