Gov’t decrees longer turnaround time for aircraft on the ground

A+
A
A-

Air Asia Philippines CEO Marianne Hontiveros: Turnaround time of 25 minutes is not only achievable but has no negative bearing on safety.

MANILA, Philippines—The country’s air safety regulator has formalized a policy requiring all carriers with domestic operations to follow longer scheduled ground times—a move budget airlines claim would be disadvantageous to their business.

A memorandum circular posted on the website of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the regulator was pursuing a 40-minute scheduled ground time, also called turnaround time, for local flights beginning Oct. 1 but with certain conditions.

The document dated Aug. 6, however, said the turnaround policy for domestic operations would exclude Manila, Clark and Mactan, which are home bases.

The memorandum would also apply only to Airbus A319 and A320 planes, which comprise the bulk of the fleets of the affected carriers, which include Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific Air, Air Asia Philippines, Tiger Airways Philippines and Zest Air.

Safer, more efficient

The CAAP said the move was meant to “promote safer and more efficient operations.”

Longer ground time, for example, would give pilots more time to rest between flights, CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss III had said.

“All airlines shall submit approval for winter schedules to the CAB [Civil Aeronautics Board] with the appropriate 40 minutes ground time,” the CAAP said in its memorandum. “Failure to comply will be cause for [CAB] to disallow such request.”

Budget carriers earlier warned their ticket prices could go up, given the added costs associated with staying on the ground longer, but CAAP Deputy Director General John Andrews downplayed this, saying that ticket prices are ultimately determined by market forces.

Cebu Pacific and Air Asia Philippines have a turnaround policy of 30 minutes and 25 minutes, respectively. PAL has a turnaround policy of 45 minutes, its senior vice president for operations Ismael Augusto Gozon said.

For their part, Air Asia Philippines CEO Marianne Hontiveros said her company submitted an “extensive” position paper to the CAAP on Thursday.

“We want to prove that the turnaround time of 25 minutes is not only achievable but has no negative bearing on safety,” said Hontiveros in a phone interview on Monday.

Gozon said PAL was prepared to comply with the CAAP ruling. Spokespersons for Cebu Pacific and Zest Air did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The increased scrutiny in scheduled ground time was triggered by a June 2 landing accident involving a Cebu Pacific plane at the Davao International Airport.

None of the people on the plane was hurt but airport operations ground to a halt for two days. Investigators later determined that pilot error was behind the incident.

Common implementation

The CAAP had earlier planned to impose a longer scheduled ground time on Cebu Pacific in the middle of July but the budget carrier asked for a two-week extension to Aug. 1 to allow it to adjust its schedules and minimize any inconvenience to passengers.

The regulator then decided to postpone the Aug. 1 implementation, saying that as many as 7,000 Cebu Pacific passengers would be affected daily. It decided on the common implementation on Oct. 1 as this would give airline operators ample time to prepare to follow the new policy.

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of INQUIRER.net. We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • julieboy

    Barking at the wrong tree..Turnaround has nothing to do safe operation..Turn around checks done by maintenance is exactly the pilots pre-flight checks in the cockpit..Unless a maintenance remark is made in the maintenance log book the airplane can go asap..Domestic does not service the aircraft for catering etc. for there are no more meals served on board..Longer turnarounds can cause cancellations of some flights for not all airports are operating night flights..The longer an airplane stays on ground the more money you lose..This not a solution to the Davao incident..Training and standards are the solution to incidents like Davao.

  • Mao Tse Tsunggu

    The CAAP had earlier planned to impose a longer scheduled ground time on Cebu Pacific in the middle of July but the budget carrier asked for a two-week extension to Aug. 1 to allow it to adjust its schedules and minimize any inconvenience to passengers.

    IT WAS CEBU PACIFIC WHICH HAD AN ACCIDENT IN DAVAO AND ALSO COMMITTED SOME INFRACTIONS.
    WHY DRAG OTHER AIRLINES WHICH HAVE A GOOD SAFETY RECORD?

  • Mao Tse Tsunggu

    Budget carriers earlier warned their ticket prices could go up, given the added costs associated with staying on the ground longer, but CAAP Deputy Director General John Andrews downplayed this, saying that ticket prices are ultimately determined by market forces.

    MARKET FORCES IS ONLY ONE FACTOR. AIRCRAFT UTILIZATION IS ANOTHER.
    AIPLANES ARE DESIGNED TO STAY IN THE AIR NOT ON GROUND.
    CAPT ANDREWS KNOWS THIS.

  • Mao Tse Tsunggu

    Longer ground time, for example, would give pilots more time to rest between flights, CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss III had said.

    DEFINITELY, LONGER THAN 25 MINUTES TURN AROUND TIME OR GROUND TIME IN BETWEEN FLIGHT LEGS WILL NOT HELP IN GIVING PILOTS MORE TIME TO REST. ON THE CONTRARY, IT WILL ONLY HELP MAKE THE FLIGHT DUTY PERIOD OF PILOTS LONGER. INSTEAD OF GOING HOME AT EARLIER TIME, WITH LONGER GROUND TIME, THE PILOTS WILL GO HOME AT A LATER TIME.

    IF CAAP IS REALLY SINCERE IN GIVING ENOUGH REST TO PILOTS, DIRECTOR GENERAL HOTCHKISS SHOULD TOTALLY OVERHAUL THE FLIGHT TIME AND FLIGHT DUTY PERIOD LIMITATIONS PROVISION IN THE CIVIL AIR REGULATION. CAAP SHOULD SHIFT TO UK CAA REGULATION FOR FLIGHT TIME AND FLIGHT DUTY PERIOD LIMITATIONS. THE UK CAA REGULATION, GREATLY CONSIDERS THE LOWEST POINT OF A PERSON IN THE CIRCADIAN TIME, WHICH IS FROM 10PM TO 8AM. IT ALSO PROVIDES MORE DAYS OFF TO PILOTS.
    MORE DAYS OFF IS MUCH BETTER THAN LONGER TURN AROUND TIME.

    I WISH LT. GEN. HOTCHKISS HAS THE POLITICAL WILL AND THE NERVE TO STAND UP AGAINST THE OWNERS OF THE AIRLINES AND COURAGEOUSLY MAKE THIS DRASTIC CHANGE IN THE CIVIL AIR REGULATION AND LEAVE A LAUDABLE LEGACY TO THE PILOTS IN THE PHILIPPINES.

  • Mao Tse Tsunggu

    The CAAP said the move was meant to “promote safer and more efficient operations.”
    LONGER THAN 25 MINUTES TURN AROUND TIME IN BETWEEN FLIGHT LEGS HAS NO BEARING AT ALL, IN PROMOTING FLIGHT SAFETY AND MORE EFFICIENT OPERATIONS OF THE FLIGHT.
    THE A320 OR A319 AIRCRAFT IS A NEW GENERATION AIRCRAFT WITH A NEW GENERATION FLIGHT MANAGEMENT AND GUIDANCE COMPUTERS (FMGC’s) ON BOARD.
    ON GROUND, IT WILL NOT TAKE MORE THAN 2 MINUTES TO PREPARE THE FLIGHT PLAN FOR THE NEXT FLIGHT. IT IS EVEN LESSER THAN 2 MINUTES, IF THE COMPANY ROUTE IS PRE-PROGRAMMED IN THE DATA BASE. ALL THE PILOTS HAVE TO DO IS TO INSERT THE CITY PAIR OR THE DEPARTURE/DESTINATION AIRPORT AND THE PLANNED ROUTE OF FLIGHT WILL FALL INTO PLACE WITH SOME MINOR REFINEMENTS ON STANDARD INSTRUMENT DEPARTURES (SID’s) AND RUNWAY IN USE. WITH THE LATEST MODEL OF FMGC’s, THE PILOTS CAN EVEN PRE-PROGRAM THE SUCCEEDING ROUTES IN FLIGHT AND ONCE ON GROUND, ALL THE PILOTS HAVE TO DO ISTO ACTIVATE IT.

  • RyanE

    “The memorandum would also apply only to Airbus A319 and A320 planes,..”
    “Longer ground time, for example, would give pilots more time to rest between flights, CAAP Director General William Hotchkiss III had said.”

    If the intent is to give the pilots more time to rest, why limit only to Airbus and not to all types of aircraft?

  • Olibo

    WARNING to All Travellers: AirAsia is not a reliable airline. Your confirmed paid booking can be rescheduled and cancelled anytime. Refund takes so long. They are uncontactable. E-mail is not answered. Live chat is not working. Food and bottled water is for sale on flight ( domestic ). They charge for ordinary seat preference. If no choice, pay using your credit card. Your card provider may assist you in claiming refund.Please pass it on. Google all negative feedbacks for this airline. Goodluck.

    • Roland_F

      Did you ever fly with (back then) Air Phil Express ??
      10 or so flight to Caticlan per day – and half of them will be cancelled and merged to other half full flights to maximize profits. Reserved and paid for seats (112 Peso each seat and trip) are gone with this reschedule and the family with small children will be split to different flight. Their Online booking internet payment returns “problem with payment please try again later or call hotline” but it already charged the flight to the MC – so the “try later” produces a second booking. Online cancellation not possible – travel all the way to their booking office to claim a refund (several papers to be filled out), refund of half cost only after 2 month.

      Did you ever try to change a PAL ticket ??
      Re-booking cost more than throw away and book new.

      Did you ever fly Cebu Pacific ??
      Also they are selling food and beverage – nothing is for free either.

      ==>> Welcome to the world of low cost airlines.

  • akoombulator

    bugok talagang nakaupo ka lang maghapon sa opisina mo 15 minutes mauubos para makababa ang 180 pasahero ng a320 25 minutes para makasakay at maupo lahat

  • Garo Ungaro

    What wrong with 40 minutes turn around time?…thats for safety for the flying public it may not be good for the budget airlines but the bottom line safety thats why airlines are still flying..The lost of assets/passengers is more worst than a mere(40) minutes turn around… Thats goes to show and a sign of “GREED” more money for the budget air at the expense of the poor flying public…”Its better to arrive alive than dead” Its true airplanes are designed for a long haul and long flying time, its not the airplanes its the shortcuts on maintenance standards and human errors most of the time. Why not pool the pilots and give rest for the turnaround, stress is one culprit. True to its name “Budget” compromising almost everything for profit, can’t do that to an airplane everyday at the expense of the flying public…? Compromising safety for profit is no business its a no…no in airline industry.Its just to risky.

    • blue_lights

      For as long as people are happy to get less service / safety in exchange for cheaper tickets, these budget airlines can do whatever they want.

      I happily pay a few extra $100 for a better airline. Better service, better on-time rates, and you get a little bit more arm and leg room.

      • http://www.dafk.net/what/ Kilabot ng mga Balahibo

        I understand about people being happy with the service. I agree with you on that.

        How ever its the things that people do not understand that could go wrong with an aircraft this proposal is concerned. Naturally, when you ask people in a hurry they would prefer faster queues.

        In response to that, commercial aircraft were designed to be with faster maintenance while at a stop. The consumers don’t know how long the manufacturer recommended inspection time for an aircraft is…like a boeing 777 or an airbus A320 but if airlines would follow it strictly, then I suppose a mishap could be prevented. Some budget airlines kasi forgo with the standard inspections before launching it again, which is dangerous.
        I read somewhere (although for the life of me i cant remember where) that it would be easier to pay for crash deaths in crash victims than to unnecessarily delay a stretch of flights for a given time. or to that effect.

      • Mao Tse Tsunggu

        AIRLINES WHETHER BUDGET OR LEGACY, DON’T FORGO THE STANDARD 360 DEGREES WALK AROUND VISUAL INSPECTION BEFORE EACH AND EVERY FLIGHT. THIS IS A PART OF THE STANDARD OPERATING PROCEDURE. THIS IS ALSO A REGULATORY REQUIREMENT. IF YOU CAN PRESENT AN EVIDENCE OF AN AIRLINE NOT COMPLYING WITH THIS PROCEDURE, PLEASE DON’T HESITATE TO REPORT IT TO CAAP.

    • Mao Tse Tsunggu

      BELIEVE YOU ME Garo Ungaro, SAFETY IS NOT COMPROMISED WITH 25 MINUTES TURN AROUND TIME, WITH THESE NEW GENERATION AIRCRAFT.
      WHAT WE NEED TO HAVE ENOUGH REST IS MORE DAYS OFF.
      CAAP SHOULD CHANGE THE RULES FOR REST PERIODS.
      BESIDES, THERE WAS NO EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT DONE IN ACTUAL FLIGHT FOR CAAP TO COME WITH A SOUND DECISION.

  • blue_lights

    That is a very unflattering photograph…

    • novaliches

      true, she obviously look better than the photo, she may also need a 40 min turn-around or make-over. no disrespect intended.

      • blue_lights

        hahaha even just a 5-minute toothbrushing session would go a long way.

    • Mao Tse Tsunggu

      Pintasira at tsismosa!!!

      • blue_lights

        hahahaha

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94

editors' picks

advertisement

popular

advertisement

videos