Tagbilaran Airport closed due to haze

By Angeline Valencia

TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, Oct. 24 (PNA) — Hundreds of Bohol-bound passengers from Manila have been re-routed to Cebu upon the advisory from the tower controller at the Tagbilaran Airport that visibility rate stayed low within two kilometers.

Stranded Manila-bound passengers from Bohol opted to take fastcrafts to Cebu to leave from the Mactan-Cebu International Airport.

No Bohol-bound aircraft from Manila have been given clearance to proceed with flights as the thick haze covers the landmarks, in the absence of Instrument Landing System at the Tagbilaran Airport (ILS).

Aircrafts landing at the Tagbilaran Airport have to operate on visual flight rules then.

Joel Palingcod, tower controller at Tagbilaran Airport, said it was still uncertain when the haze would dissipate sooner due to low wind velocity.

All flights on Saturday (Oct. 24) have been cancelled because of the uncertainty.

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 haze.

With the current visibility score, Maribojoc and Panglao mountains are hardly visible from the Tagbilaran tower control as reference.

He 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 Dumaguete Airport in Sibulan, Negros Oriental where the visibility was only one-kilometer range.

Mactan-Cebu International Airport has the advantage with aircraft on instrument approach aided by radar.

He said haze was also present in Cebu, but aircraft managed to land at MCIA, except those operating on visual flights rules, because they have ILS.

In Tagbilaran, the runway has no ILS that could supposedly guide the aircraft in finding the path instrumentally, he said. (PNA)