THREE flights bound for Manila from various provinces were diverted to the Mactan Cebu International Airport yesterday, because of haze and poor visibility in the capital.

But sources at Mactan airport who refused to be named said the real problem is the malfunction of equipment needed to guide landings at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

At least 19 other flights bound for Manila were diverted to the Diosdado Macapagal Airport in Clark, Pampanga, according to the 3 p.m. advisory of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA).

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The incident, blamed on the thick haze that resulted from air pollution, is the fourth since navigational aids at the NAIA bogged down due to wear and tear.

Based on the same advisory, at least 70 domestic and international flights of NAIA Terminals 1, 2 and, 3 were affected.

Jerome Oyao of the Public Affairs Division at Mactan Airport said the Philippine Airlines flights PR 124 (Zamboanga-Manila), PR 192 (Tacloban-Manila) and PR 196 (Puerto Princesa-Manila) arrived at Mactan at 9:07 a.m., 11:06 a.m. and 12:06 p.m., respectively.

They finally departed for Manila late yesterday afternoon.

PAL cancelled its 3:55 p.m. flight to Manila yesterday because PR 857, which was supposed to arrive in Mactan at 2:55 p.m., was cancelled.

MCIAA General Manager Danilo Augusto Francia, who was in Manila yesterday, said the situation at NAIA was hazy, but flights resumed late in the afternoon.

An officer from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the thick haze is dangerous to small planes because pilots might miss the runway.

“It is normal to have haze at this time of the year but it was so thick the visibility dropped to one kilometer. Normally, we allow airplanes to land with three or four kilometers visibility. We will not be cancelling flights, though, because the skies have already cleared up,” said CAAP technical assistant Lito Casaul in a radio interview. (EOB/Sunnex)