Clark Lightning has high Impact on Airlines
Monday night a lightning struck Clark’s navigation equipment. All flights of that night had been diverted to Ninoy Aquino International Airport – Manila’s NAIA. But that’s not all!
When filing a flight plan, then pilots have to indicate an “Alternate Airport” in case the destination airport cannot be reached or isn’t operational. The “Alternate Airport” for Manila (MNL/RPLL) is Clark (CRK/RPLC). What happens, when this alternate airport is not operational?
A NOTAM is a “Notice to Airmen” an information distributed to all pilots for a specific region RPHI or an airport. Manila’s NAIA (MNL/RPLL) has issued this NOTAM:
B1081/15 NOTAMR B1076/15
Q) RPHI/QPIAU/I /NBO/A /000/999/1511N12034E005
A) RPLC B) 1505050632 C) 1505080800 EST
E) IAP ILS OR LOC RWY02R, ILS OR LOC RWY20L AND VOR RWY20L
SUSPENDED DUE DVOR U/S.
REF AIP PHILIPPINE PAGES RPLC AD 2-28 TO 2-30 DTD 03 APR 14.
CREATED: 05 May 2015 06:33:00
Meaning: Instrument approach procedure ILS OR LOC RWY02R, ILS OR LOC RWY20L AND VOR RWY20L SUSPENDED DUE Doppler VOR Unserviceable. Reference to AIP PHILIPPINE PAGES Replace Aerodrome 2-28 TO 2-30 DTD 03 April 14. CREATED: 05 May 2015 06:33:00 SOURCE: EUECYIYN
Well, there are other airports around. A friend had to fly from Hong Kong (HKG) to Manila (MNL). The flight planning application gave him a very strange “Alternate Airport”: HKG – Hong Kong! meaning that he would have to fly back home if Manila had troubles. Funny, isn’t it.
But why not flying to Cebu (CEB/RPVM)? Limited parking area due to “Work in Progress” is the answer. So what could be the next airport to fly to if Manila has troubles. The only other airport in the Philippines that can accommodate flights in case Manila is down is – DAVAO (DVO/RPMD)! That’s nice. Just some 550 miles south-east. The passengers would be happy.
We also checked Subic airport (SFS/RPLB that is really near to Clark and Manila – less than 30 miles south-west of Clark. Sorry Sir, closed during night. Laoag (LAO/RPLI) – the same answer.
Imagine Manila Airport has one of their well known navigation blackouts (DVOR/DME down). There is absolutely no redundancy in Manila’s navigation systems. There is no backup equipment and there is no alternate electric power supply. If it happens then you will enjoy a South East Asia round-trip and discover new countries.
Manila DVOR (Photo courtesy of philippineairspace.blogspot.com)
Our friend writes: It’s more fun in the Philippines – but first you have to get there!