Flights disrupted due to poor visibility


PETALING JAYA: Deteriorating air quality disrupted flights at two major airports in pe­­ninsular Malaysia and MetMalaysia is warning that the haze could last longer than first expected.

Six AirAsia flights to and from KLIA2 and eight to and from Penang International Airport were disrupted as of 5pm.

“This is due to visibility below the minimum level caused by the haze. Affected passengers were notified and attended to accor­dingly at the airport,” said AirAsia Berhad in a statement.

The airline added that it would continue to monitor the situation closely and keep its guests informed.

A spokesman for Malaysia Airport Holding Berhad said visibility at KLIA had dropped to 0.7km from 2km the previous day.

But he said no flight had to be cancelled at any airports as a result of the haze.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Madius Tangau said MetMalaysia initially predicted the haze to ease by the start of this month.

But the formation of a tropical storm in the Philippines had resulted in consistent south-west winds bringing the transboundary haze back over Malaysia, he said.

“The tropical storm known as the Mujigae, formed on Oct 1, had resulted in the south-west winds,” he said in a statement.

He said Malaysia should get a short reprieve between Oct 6 and Oct 9 following a change in wind direction.

The haze is predicted to make a comeback if fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan are not extinguished on Oct 10 on the heels of another tropical storm in the eastern Philippines.

A total of 23 areas reported unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings as of 5pm compared with only 13 areas at noon.

Areas recording the highest API readings were Seremban (170), Nilai (169), Shah Alam (166), Port Klang (159) and Petaling Jaya (153).

The Health Ministry has also made necessary preparations to face the possible increase in cases of illnesses.

Its deputy minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahya said there was enough medicine and face masks to meet the situation.

In George Town, many Penangites cancel­led their outdoor activity as the haze wor­sened and hit the unhealthy level.

The Seberang Prai Municipal Council issued a notice, saying that its Car-Free Morning event today in Jalan Todak 2 and Jalan Todak 3 in Seberang Jaya had been cancelled due to the unhealthy air quality.

The air quality in Penang deteriorated as the day progressed yesterday, with the DOE monitoring station at Universiti Sains Malaysia registering API readings of 71 at 6am, 81 at 11am and 99 at 2pm before breaching the unhealthy level at 4pm with a reading of 109.

However, Penang International Airport senior manager Mohd Ariff Jaafar said there were no flight cancellation as yet.

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