Manila Airport suspends flights after volcano erupts in the Philippines

Caryn Livingston

The eruption of the Taal Volcano in the Philippines that began Sunday has led to flight disruptions at Manila’s nearby Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL).

The Manila International Airport Authority announced the temporary suspension of flight operations at the airport in a tweet early Sunday morning, local time. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology reported “heavy ashfall from the ongoing eruptions” as of Monday, which has effectively halted flights at MNL.

While the total impact on cargo operations in the region is yet to be seen, volcanic activity has in the past significantly disrupted air travel. The most notable example in recent years was seen during the 2010 eruptions of Eyjafjallajokull in Iceland, which closed large sections of European airspace for more than a week.

For now, flight-tracking software indicates hundreds of canceled departures and arrivals to and from MNL for carriers, including Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, Emirates, China Airlines and others. YTO Cargo Airlines flights between Hangzhou (HGH) and MNL, which operate using 737 or 757 freighters, still appear as scheduled on Flightradar24, although YTO flights previously scheduled for arrival in MNL appear not to have operated as scheduled.

MNL’s rapid growth as an air cargo destination pushed it into the Top 40 cargo airports for 2018. The airport was also among the five fastest-growing airports during 2018, with a year-over-year increase in cargo tonnage of 11.54% to 738,698 tonnes.

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