CAAP Confirms Cypress Blocks Approach

One Cause For Aircraft Delays

15 September 2015

After years of silence, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) finally admitted Wednesday that Cypress Towers owned by DMCI along C-5 in Taguig City is blocking the path of incoming aircraft to NAIA and that their Office has approved its construction during the Administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo even if they were restricted airspace.

Manuel Tamayo, Deputy Director general for Administration of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) confirmed during the Senate hearing that the original 300-feet minimum descent altitude (MDA) for landing aircraft was forced to be adjusted to 900 feet because of Cypress Towers obstruction on its flight path.

"This was done several years ago. They had to adjust the minimum descent height for the non-position approach specifically because of this tower," Tamayo said. He was however mum when asked who from CAA approved the building permit.

The 500 feet increase in altitude prevented aircraft from seeing the runway on visuals during bad weather causing multiple go arounds and traffic build up in the air which usually ended up in flight diversions to Clark.

Tamayo however allayed fears of unsafe approach in runway 24 as he explained NAIA's use of 3 modes of approaches for landing aircraft – visual, non-precision, and precision such as the use of the "more efficient" instrument landing system (ILS).

Tamayo said that while DMCI condo has affected the currently applied approach, this is already a non-issue as they already increased height limits.

But Senator Joseph Victor Ejercito, a licensed pilot himself countered Tamayo saying that the ILS minimum decision altitude was likewise increase to 375 feet making approach more steep than what was considered generally a safe approach to runway defined by international standards.

CAAP admitted that its very difficult to land at runway 24 during bad weather because pilots uses non-precision approach to Manila forcing them to hover at least a thousand feet in the air because the ILS that was made by Thales was hit by lightning in August 2015. Air traffic could have been managed smoothly had the ILS been working as it lowers minimum ceiling to 375 feet enough for the pilot to see the runway.

MIAA has already ordered spare parts since last year but the supplier delayed its delivery twice and the government cannot do anything about it because of apparent incompatibility with other OEM suppliers.

DMCI was also the builder of a controversial tower in Manila that intruded the natural view of Rizal monument in Luneta. Cypress Towers was completed in 2009.

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