NO NEW FLIGHTS!
May 9, 2012
May 9, 2012
Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas begged local airlines Tuesday to re-align their domestic daylight flight schedules from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and not to mount new or additional flights out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) while the government is studying the best solution to address the problem.
“There will be a re-balance or re-schedule of domestic flights so as to shift bulk of the load to off-peak from peak hours,” Roxas said.
“Until these measures are realized, there will be no approvals for new flights. We don’t want to worsen the problem. Until we sort out the current problem and institute the capacity buildup measures, there will be no new flights,” Roxas added.
One of the immediate solutions found was the transfer of general aviation traffic to Sangley airport in Cavite but they are scheduled for implementation in June.
"Domestic flights account for 80 of load of runway. This is the biggest part of the challenge, so we will cut in that area." says Roxas.who propose “burden-sharing ways to address congestion” at NAIA's runway.
“For instance, commercial flight arrivals and departures will be batched or grouped together to improve runway usage. The plan is from 7 to 7:15 a.m., 10 takeoffs will be allowed followed by 10 landings at 7:15 to 7:30 a.m. This translates to an additional two to four movements per hour.” he said.
Roxas further declared that NAIA airport landing is a “Captain’s Runway,” meaning only captains can take off from or land on the runway. Currently, first officers are allowed to facilitate flight takeoff of an aircraft as part of their training. With this measure, only the pilot-in-command has full control during takeoffs and landings, ensuring that a flight is within the average of 100 seconds per movement.
Another solution is for DOTC to turn 14 provincial airports into night-rated airports, which would require a budget of P800 million, excluding operational expenses. These airports are Tagbilaran, Legazpi, Dumaguete, Butuan, Ozamis, Cotabato, Naga, Dipolog, Roxas, Pagadian, Tuguegarao, Busuanga, Surigao and San Jose, Mindoro.
Existing airports with night capabilities are Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Kalibo, Tacloban, Puerto Princesa, Zamboanga, General Santos and Laoag.
Another idea propose by DOTC is to encourage night flights, fees for takeoffs and landings during the evening will be reduced, while fees for the daytime will be increased. Fees for slots between 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. will double while fees for slots from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. will be reduced by 25%.
But one industry source said the best solution was already found. Installation of next generation radar equipment to maximize landing and takeoff at NAIA. Only that the government failed to implement it and airlines are suffering the direct consequence of their incompetence and sheer greed.
The $200-million Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) systems for the Philippine airport network was shelved for further audit after the Arroyo Administration padded the contract to cost P220 million more. Had they been installed it would have alleviated the current congestion at the airport as it will allow 45 flights to come in.
The same sentiments was echoed by Cebu Pacific chieftain Lance Gokongwei when he told Roxas his suggestion was counter productive to business and tourism.
Avelino Zapanta, president of Southeast Asian Airlines, earlier asked why the government is penalizing carriers for its incompetency. “The airlines invest so much in buying airplanes, then you will reduce their utilization?” he said.
During the close door meeting Tuesday, Airline owners from PAL, Cebu Pacific and Zest Air laid out their plans to decongest NAIA on peak hours, and none except PAL is following the Secretary's cue.
Meanwhile, The terminal fee for domestic flights will be included in the airline tickets starting August 1, says Roxas.