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NAIA hero: 1 aerobridge operator, 120 flights


MANILA, Philippines - Aerobridge operators connect the passenger walkway or tube of an airport terminal gate to a plane.

As Tropical Storm Maring battered Metro Manila on Monday and Tuesday, Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) had only two aerobridge operators, and one of them later went home.

That left only operator Arnold Gansen Geneta to handle all the 120 arriving and departing flights for about 24 hours straight.

Geneta is now being hailed as a hero for his dedication to his work, together with the other operator, Oliver Dellegas.

International airline officials said most arriving flights had been delayed while international and domestic flights were cancelled when monsoon rains triggered by Maring devastated Metro Manila, Laguna, and Cavite Monday and Tuesday.

Geneta handled all incoming and outgoing flights at the aerobridge when Dellegas, who also reported for work at the height of the storm, later asked permission to go home to check on his family.

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Dante Basanta, NAIA 1 manager, said the two are considered the “unsung heroes,” especially Geneta, who was on duty for 24 hours.

“We have 14 bridges at NAIA Terminal 1 and they were able to manage it so well, considering that they handled at least 60 arrivals and 60 departures,” he said.

“That operator is a hero. He was the only one who handled many aircraft, with only about 20 to 25 minutes interval,” an Airline Operators Council member said, referring to Geneta.

An official from an airline told The STAR that Geneta must be given at least a promotion for his heroic performance.

12 international flights canceled

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines canceled yesterday 12 international flights from Narita in Japan, Vancouver in Canada, Melbourne and Darwin in Australia.

Other flights cancelled later were those from Honolulu, Nagoya and Kansai in Japan, Bangkok in Thailand, Guangzhou and Beijing in China, Hong Kong and Denpasar, Indonesia.

PAL said the massive floods in Metro Manila for the last two days led to flight delays and cancellations and inconvenienced passengers.

Floods also prevented airline staff from reporting for duty.

“We apologize. We appeal to our passengers for understanding as we do everything to accommodate travel needs during these difficult days,” PAL said in a statement.

PAL is waiving rebooking fees of passengers who were unable to take their flights due to the bad weather and flooding.

“Affected passengers may rebook their flights without penalties, 30 days from today,” it said.

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