by BERNAMA / pic by TMR FILE PIX
AirAsia and Malaysia Airlines today announced the cancellation of flights between Kuala Lumpur and Manila following the eruption of a volcano in the Philippines yesterday.
The Taal Volcano south of Manila spewed ash and is expected to undergo an explosive eruption within hours to days.
AirAsia, in a statement, said the airline is suspending and cancelling flights to and from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila. The airport has temporarily suspended operations until further notice.
“AirAsia guests travelling over the next few days are strongly encouraged to check their flight status at airasia.com/flightstatus for the latest updates,” it said in the statement. AirAsia said it has notified all affected guests via email and SMS.
Malaysia Airlines, in a statement, said flights into NAIA will be suspended following the extended closure of the airport.
The affected flights from Kuala Lumpur to Manila today include MH806, MH704 and MH804 while those from Manila to Kuala Lumpur are MH805, MH705 and MH807.
Tomorrow’s flight, MH805 from Manila to Kuala Lumpur, is also affected.
Malaysia Airlines said it is closely monitoring the situation and will adjust its flights when necessary.
“Passengers are advised to check their flight status on the Malaysia Airlines website or mobile app and they are also required to update their contact details at the ‘Manage My Booking’ section on the website,” it said.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) temporarily suspended flights to and from the NAIA last night due to the presence of volcanic ash clouds on major traffic airways.
Thousands of people were evacuated from the area near the volcano, which sits in the middle of a lake about 70 km south of Manila, after it suddenly shot a column of ash and steam as high as 15 km into the sky.
The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) raised the alert level to four.
Alert Level 4 means a hazardous explosive eruption is possible within hours to days.