‘We’d be happy to participate’: Tycoon Pangilinan offers help after NAIA crisis

January 2, 2023 - 3:17 PM
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Composite photo of business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan and NAIA Terminal 1 (The STAR/File, Rudy Santos)

The head of a group of companies offered to help improve operations of the country’s airspace following the power outage on New Year’s Day.

Manuel Pangilinan, chairman of PLDT, tweeted this after he was among the thousands of passengers who were affected by the airspace glitch last Sunday, January 1, 2023.

Numerous flights traversing Manila’s flight information region (FIR) or the Philippines’ airspace have announced abrupt rerouting, cancelations and delays after communications on the ground went down.

READ: No flights in Philippine airspace as ‘technical issues’ hit air traffic system | Philstar.com

As of 7:30 p.m. on January 1, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) reported that 361 flights were disrupted in its facilities.

The MIAA is the state-run organization responsible for the operations of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Pangilinan on that day tweeted that he was on the way home from his Tokyo trip when the plane had to return to its departure point.

“We’re told radar and navigation facilities at NAIA [are] down. I was on my way home [from] Tokyo, 3 hours into the flight, but had to return to Haneda (Tokyo Haneda Airport),” Pangilinan said.

“6 hours of useless flying [but an] inconvenience to travelers and losses to tourism and business are horrendous,” he added.

The tycoon further emphasized: “Only in the PH. Sigh.”

In a separate post on January 2, he expressed willingness to lend a hand to the Department of Tourism, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines and other related agencies in power supply support.

“If our Group could be of any help to DOTr/CAAP, we’d be happy to participate – colocation of 2nd, even 3rd, redundancies in our nationwide data centers, required connectivity – fiber, satellite, wireless – robust even redundant power supply protection, etc.,” Pangilinan said.

He heads the MVP Group, a conglomerate of companies and businesses in different industries.

These include PLDT, Smart Communications, Metro Pacific Investments Corp., and MediaQuest.

Media Quest includes The Philippine STAR, BusinessWorld and TV5.

Resumed operations

Operations only returned to normal later that evening on Sunday, according to Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista.

Bautista noted at a press conference that power went down at 9 in the morning, thus resulting in a whole day of flight disruptions.

Pangilinan also updated his followers that he was able to go home safely later that evening.

At the same briefing, Bautista said the DOTr and CAAP are still coordinating with MIAA and other airport operators in the country to help passengers with their flights.

The transport department moreover liaised with airline partners to provide food, refreshments, lodging, transportation and other needs to these travelers for free.

The Department of Tourism later joined in and deployed its ground tourism personnel to various airports to offer assistance.

In a statement, the DOT said that it has designated help desks where tourists can go to ask for help.

They may also send a message to the department’s official social media pages to report tourism-related issues.

“The DOT, together with its regional offices, have been in close coordination with the concerned local government units, stakeholders, and other relevant offices in monitoring the situation of tourists across the country who are affected by flight diversions, delays, or cancellations,” the DOT said.