NAIA runway flooded by thunderstorm (Philippines Daily Inquirer)

Even the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) was flooded Tuesday night following a thunderstorm that practically paralyzed Metro Manila.

It resulted in the delay of at least four domestic flights when several aircraft were submerged in floodwater that reached a person’s waist at the NAIA tarmac, the last place supposed to be flooded.

The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) reported only four Air Asia flights: Z2 713 to Kalibo; Z2 615 to Davao; as well as Z2 714 and Z2 716 coming from Kalibo to be delayed because of the flood.

But several other international flights including those of Cathay Pacific and Korean Airlines were also delayed by the bad weather that started woes for homebound Metro Manila residents at 7 p.m., Tuesday.

According to David de Castro, MIAA spokesperson for the office of the general manager, the heavy downpour flooded the ramp area near secondary runway 13/31.

The runway is actively used by aircraft from the all-domestic NAIA Terminal 4.

Only the taxiway near Terminal 4 was observed to be affected by flood water, he stressed.

He said that the overflow of the Paranaque River caused the flood.

While flights were necessarily delayed due to the weather, arriving aircraft that were supposed to park at Terminal 4 had to be brought to a remote parking area. From there, passengers were provided with a bus to get to the terminal, De Castro said, adding that the water subsided at 2 a.m. Wednesday, restoring normal operations.

But NAIA sources said that the Paranaque River overflow would not have flooded the tarmac had a portion of an open creek along Andrews Avenue not been reclaimed and paved for road widening.

International aviation safety standards require the airport tarmac and ramp to be flood-free because of the danger inundation poses to airplanes as well as its adverse effect to ground operations.