Senate to probe NAIA New Year mess

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, January 2) — The Senate will launch an investigation into the technical glitch at the country's main air hub Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which affected tens of thousands of passengers on New Year's Day.

Sen. Grace Poe, who chairs the Senate committee on public services, said the Senate will conduct an inquiry once aviation authorities settle the crisis.

"Give them time to restore normal flight operations. After which, we will conduct an inquiry and direct them to submit a full report of what caused the supposed glitch and power outage," she said in a statement Monday.

Poe noted that since Meralco already claimed that it did not encounter any power supply issue, the problem now points to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and its navigation equipment.

"There needs to be transparency and accountability from CAAP," the senator said.

"We will, therefore, conduct a hearing as part of the Senate's oversight function, to determine who is liable, and what we need to do to avoid the malfunction from happening again," Poe added.

CAAP Director General Manuel Tamayo said during a briefing Sunday evening that the issue occurred after one of the uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) failed to operate, so troubleshooting had to be done.

He admitted that the system is already outdated since it was first used in 2010, but only went online in 2018.

Transportation Chief Jaime Bautista, meanwhile, said the technical glitch at NAIA delayed hundreds of domestic and international flights, affecting over 65,000 passengers.

Flights resumed on Sunday afternoon.

READ: NAIA air traffic center resumes ops after New Year’s Day glitch

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said the nightmare experienced by air travelers was a "black eye" for the entire Philippines, especially its tourism industry.

Sen. JV Ejercito also said CAAP has "a lot of explaining to do."

"What is baffling is that the Air Traffic Management System should have a backup. Having a totally non-functioning radar system is not only dangerous for air travel but is a concern of national security," he said.

Ejercito also stressed the need to "take back vital utilities" such as the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, which he believed could "cripple" the Philippine economy.