By Eric Apolonio
March 29, 2011
A P15 surcharge will be imposed on domestic plane tickets to equip major airports with a bird-avoidance technology under a plan drawn up by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The proposed surcharge may go even higher depending on the cost of the technology, according to CAAP director-general Ramon Gutierrez.
“The P15 fee is about 35 cents, which we think is reasonable enough,” Gutierrez said.
The total cost of the project is under evaluation and it will be based on the results of a public bidding, he said.
An electronic bird-avoidance system is being offered by a foreign manufacturer for P200 million per piece, he said. It could either be rented or paid in tranches. To be effective, two units should be installed in each of the eight major airports. Thus, it will cost at least P3.2 billion to install these units in each of the 8 airports—Diosdado Macapagal (Clark), Subic, Bacolod, General Santos, Laoag, Cebu-Mactan, Zamboanga and Davao—which are also covered by the pocket open-skies policy.
“Those are very expensive equipment which we could not afford at the moment,” |Gutierrez said after viewing a presentation.
The technology harnesses a radar system, independent of those used by air traffic controllers, to detect and track hazardous bird activity at commercial airports, military airfields and bombing ranges. The information gathered by these units is relayed by air controllers to pilots.
Stressing the need to acquire the early warning system, Gutierrez said that bird-strike incidents have become a concern because they cause damage to airplanes and endanger passengers.
An airliner usually spends a minimum of $500,ooo to repair an engine damaged by bird strike, according to airline source.