October 6, 2011
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) has deferred collecting a 10% increase of overflight charges within the country which was supposed to be effective October 1 after Airline Operators Council (AOC) protested for lack of proper notice and publication.
Cathay Pacific Airways through its station manager Ed Monreal brought to the attention to CAAP saying the overflight charge increase was not published in a daily newspaper and that members of the AOC were not duly informed as required by law.
Director General Ramon Gutierrez said the increase in overflight charges was published in 2009, during the incumbency of Daniel Dimagiba, former head of the Air Transportation Office but the information apparently was not widely circulated then since the Air Transportation Office (ATO), was being revamped and replaced with a new name CAAP.
The aviation authority ordered the deferment after a meeting with the AOC, which said that 30 of its airline members were not properly informed on the increased overflight rate. The AOC has 48 members representing various aviation firms, mostly passenger airliners in the Asia Pacific Region. They include Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, Zest Air, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines, Thai Airways, Vietnam Airlines, Garuda, Qantas, China Air, KLM, Thai Airways, Taiwan Air, Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines, Emirates, among others.
Gutierrez agreed to defer the implementation of the increase due to some lapses and oversight within the agency to January 2012.
Gutierrez said CAAP derives P2 billion of its P3 billion yearly income from overflights by international air carriers, crossing the Philippine Flight Information Region (FIR).
"At present, the CAAP bills the aircraft manually for overflights, through the Air Traffic Services Division. Its personnel keep track on dozens of aircraft crisscrossing our airspace and charge them for the use of our navigational aids (Navaids) according to distance travelled within the FIR" says Gutierrez.
The CAAP is upgrading its capability for automation through the P10-billion Air Traffic Management/Communication, Navigation Service (ATM/CNS) project, that hopes to do away with manual billing, instead, an automatic bill will be done by computers for prompt and accurate collection design to increase revenue of the government.
Overflight charges covers those airline flying over Philippine Airspace without making a stop-over in the country that originates or destined either in Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, for Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Australia and Vietnam or the US territories of Guam or Saipan.