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Smog blankets Manila runways, cancels flights

TWO Philippine Airline flights from San Francisco and Los Angeles were diverted to the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in Clark Field, Pampanga, after fog and smog produced by a cold front and exacerbated by firecrackers reduced the visibility at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Sunday. Flight PR105 from San Francisco was scheduled to touchdown in Manila at 5:50 a.m., but it was ordered to land in Clark after the visibility at the airport in Manila was reduced to almost zero. PR 103 from Los Angeles was scheduled to arrive at 5:20 a.m., but it was also ordered to Clark for the same reason. Both flights had over 300 passengers. At least four domestic flights of Cebu Pacific were also diverted to Clark: 5J 550 from Cebu, 5J 474 from Bacolod, 5J 892 from Caticlan, and 5J 652 from Tacloban. But the Manila International Airport Authority said all three domestic and three international terminals in Manila were opened to traffic at 8 a.m. after the skies cleared. Earlier, ZestAir Flight Z2 400 from Manila to San Jose Mindoro, Z2 401 from San Jose Mindoro to Manila, Z2 260 from Manila to Masbate, and Z2 261 from Masbate to Manila, were canceled due to poor visibility at the runways in Manila. Bad weather also canceled the flights of AirphilExpress Flight 2P 261 from Manila to Naga and 2P262 from Naga to Manila, Cebu Pacific Flight 5J 519 from Manila to Naga, 5j 250 from Naga to Manila, 5j 821 from Manila to Virac, 5j 822 from Virac to Manila, 5J 893 from Manila to Caticlan, and 5J 89 from Caticlan to Manila. The weather bureau said a mass of cold air from the northern hemisphere crept down and enveloped the entire country all the way to parts of Borneo and Indonesia, producing fog and clouds that reduced the visibility in many areas. With Jess Malabanan
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