By Darwin G. Amojelar
July 2, 2013
MANILA - The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) can finally spruce up its communications, navigation and surveillance system after the government and a private contractor amended a contract that the Commission on Audit (COA) earlier blocked.
Under the contract amendment signed last week by the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) and the Sumitomo-Thales Joint Venture, the P13.27 billion Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) Systems Development Project can immediately restart construction.
The project has two packages: the first entails the design and construction of the ATM Center and ATM Automation System, as well as the final integration of the whole CNS/ATM system, while the second package involves the design and construction of a surveillance and communication system.
The DOTC expects the construction to be completed in two-and-a-half years.
The original contract between the parties was signed in December 2010, but COA issued a notice of disallowance in May 2011. After a review of its concerns, COA lifted the disallowance last March.
Begun in the previous administration, the project was suspended after COA discovered a duplication of the new Manila Area Control System (MACC) that the DOTC obtained.
The DOTC and the private contractor then worked on the contract amendment to update the project timeline, scope of works and prices.
The state-of-the-art CNS/ATM System will modernize aviation safety and security capabilities, increase airport capacity, and minimize flight delays and aircraft collision by providing safety alerts and warnings, managing the use of the airspace and air traffic flow, and enhancing the communications and monitoring capabilities of the CAAP.
“This project will bring the country closer to the highest of international aviation safety standards. Ultimately, it will also result in more revenues for the government, bolster the country’s tourism goals, and lower pollution emission levels through efficient air traffic management,” Migs Sagcal, DOTC spokesperson said.
Sagcal said Transport Secretary Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya secured the joint venture’s reassurance that the CNS/ATM Systems will be fully in place within President Benigno S. Aquino III's term, or by November 2015 at the earliest.
The CNS/ATM Systems Development Project was first conceptualized in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Global Air Navigation Plan, and will replace aging vital communications, surveillance, and air traffic control equipment at selected airports nationwide.
The CNS/ATM project installation was supposed to be completed in June this year. The loan validity was extended to May 21, 2013 from February 21, 2010