Airlines cancel flights due to haze in Region 12
Rosette Adel (Philstar.com) - October 22, 2015 - 2:11am

MANILA, Philippines – The local Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) office said two airlines canceled flights to and from Cotabato since October 17 due to haze from Indonesia that blanketed Mindanao cities.

Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific announced the last-minute cancelation of its Manila to Cotabato to Manila flights since it was difficult for pilots to land and take off with “very poor visibility” caused by smoke, dust and small particles.

”Commercial flights to and from Cotabato have been canceled for everybody’s safety,” Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) - Cotabato weather specialist Roy Jumawan told reporters. Jumawan explained that the prevailing haze over South Central Mindanao was triggered by forest fires in Indonesia.

CAAP-Cotabato said the airline traffic may resume at the Cotabato airport in adjoining Barangay Awang, Sultan Kudarat, Maguindanao once the skies are clear.

Aside from Cotabato, CAAP and Air Transportation Office in Davao, Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro and Gen. Santos City are also forced to suspend incoming and outgoing flights due to the haze.

He added that the haze was brought to the country by southern air streams coming from Borneo, parts of Sumatra and Kalimantan. The haze was blown to the country and its neighboring countries such as Brunei and Malaysia by “hanging habagat” or southwest monsoon.

According to Jumawan, Typhoon Lando contributed to the entry of haze in southern Philippines.

Meanwhile, a staff of Cebu Pacific-Cotabato said the airline is not yet issuing tickets until the flights from Cotabato resume.

The weather specialist said the haze may fade once the southwest monsoon wind comes in or a heavy downpour occurs in most parts of the region.

Despite the presence of the haze, air quality in other parts of Region 12 remained at safe levels.

The information officer of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) in Region 12, Maysheen Collong, on Thursday said their monitoring showed that the pollutants in the region are still below the standard level.

“The air pollutants present in our atmosphere are so far are at tolerable level and should not be a cause for worry or alarm,” Collong said.

Collong however did not confirm that the monitored haze really came from the forest fires in Indonesia.

“The prevailing wind patterns in the region is not from Indonesia so it’s still a big question mark. Right now we’re studying all possible situations, including observations that the foggy or hazy atmosphere was actually caused by low cloud formations,” Collong said.

ACIRC AIR TRANSPORTATION OFFICE BARANGAY AWANG BRUNEI AND MALAYSIA CEBU PACIFIC CEBU PACIFIC-COTABATO CIVIL AVIATION AUTHORITY OF THE PHILIPPINES COLLONG COTABATO ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT BUREAU HAZE
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