TACLOBAN CITY, Philippines - At least 2,000 passengers were stranded on Wednesday after they were caught by surprise by the closure of the biggest airport in Western Visayas.
The Daniel Z. Romualdez (DZR) Airport in San Jose District here shut down its operations after the last plane left 5 p.m. on Tuesday to allow the repair of the potholes on the 2.2-kilometer runway.
"We ask for the understanding of our passengers but at the same time, we cannot afford to compromise their safety and that of planes using the airport," said Allan Cahingcoy, officer-in-charge of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).
He said the airport was scheduled to resume operations at 5 a.m. on Thursday.
But the closure of the airport irked several passengers who were caught by surprise.
At least 20 flights of four airlines had been suspended.
Retired Brig. Gen. Rodante Joya, CAAP chief finance officer, said airlines have been complaining about the potholes.
The DZR Airport, gateway to Eastern Visayas provinces, serves the Manila and Cebu routes with 13 flights daily.
"We were not informed that there will be no flights today," said Maria Bautista, 74, who was bound for Manila.
She and brother, Lucas Galangue, 59, visited a sick brother, Ricardo, 63, in Basey town, Samar. They were supposed to take a 1:20 p.m. flight.
Cahingcoy, however, said the closure was announced over radio and television stations here.