The ferocity of Typhoon Ursula, with wind gusts of 200 km per hour and torrential rain that struck the Philippines on Christmas Eve, damaged three airports in the country's Visayas Islands.
Kalibo International Airport in Aklan province, which also serves the tourist resort of Boracay, suffered damage to its passenger terminal and surrounding area. Despite the damage, the airport was reopened to handle domestic flights after 24 hours. Fourteen international flights from China, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Korea handled daily by that airport were diverted to Boracay’s Godofredo Ramos Airport (GRA) in Caticlan province. GRA completely lost power and operated on generators due to widespread damage to power lines across the province.
According to Henry Gomez, an official at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, damage to KIA is being accessed and repairs will start as soon as the nod is given. As for GRA, Gomez said normal operations will resume only when power is restored after power lines are replaced.
At the Roxas City Airport in Capiz province, the roof of the air traffic control tower was damaged, resulting in heavy leaks.
This is the second time since 2013 that a typhoon has damaged airports in the Philippines. In 2013 Typhoon Haiyan, the most powerful the Philippines had experienced, damaged Tacloban Airport in Leyte province and Cagayan De Oro Airport in Northern Mindanao. The passenger terminal and the runway at Tacloban Airport were almost wiped out while only the passenger terminal at Cagayan De Oro was damaged.
The Philippines experiences 20 tropical storms every year.