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Haze forces closure of Tagbilaran Airport

TAGBILARAN CITY, Philippines – Hundreds of Bohol-bound passengers from Manila have been re-routed to Cebu City upon the advisory from the tower controller of the Tagbilaran Airport that visibility rate stayed low within two kilometers.

Stranded Manila-bound passengers from Bohol also opted to take the sea fastcrafts to Cebu where they will take their flights from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

No Bohol-bound aircraft from Manila have been given clearance to proceed with flights as the thick haze covered the landmarks, in the absence of the instrument landing system or ILS at the Tagbilaran Airport.

Aircrafts landing at the Tagbilaran Airport have to operate on visual flight rules then, but the airport tower controller Joel Palingcod said it was still uncertain when the haze would dissipate, considering the low wind velocity in the area.

All flights yesterday were cancelled due to this uncertainty, and that no commercial aircraft got through the Tagbilaran Airport, while only general aviation remained at the tarmac shoulders.

Palingcod said no airline had proceeded with any trip after the first flight from Manila failed to depart upon the advisory on the two-kilometer visibility at the Tagbilaran side due to the haze.

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With the current visibility score, Maribojoc and Panglao mountains were hardly visible from the Tagbilaran tower control as reference. Palingcod explained that pilots on visual flight rules could only watch for landmarks such as mountains and buildings.

Ideally, aircrafts on visual flight rules are only safe to fly with visibility of at least five kilometers to be able to watch for the landmarks.

Palingcod said he also learned that the situation was even worse at the Dumaguete Airport in Sibulan, Negros Oriental where the visibility was only within the one-kilometer range.

The MCIAA has the advantage because aircrafts on instrument approach were aided by the airport’s radar. He said the haze was also present in Cebu, but aircrafts managed to land at the MCIA, except those operating on visual flights rules, because the facility has an ILS. (FREEMAN)

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