CEB proposes ways to ease congestion on NAIA runwaysBy Paolo G. Montecillo
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The government must do its part in supporting the growth of budget airlines by providing the needed infrastructure that will allow them to operate efficiently, budget carrier Cebu Pacific said.
The Gokongwei-led firm said airlines were not entirely to blame for runway congestion at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) that had been causing flight delays for thousands of passengers.
Reacting to statements made by Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas, Cebu Pacific urged the government to fast-track several reforms that would lead to the more efficient movement of planes to and from NAIA.
“The traveling public has been experiencing air traffic congestion in Manila, and both the government and airlines have been taking several proactive steps to minimize this,” Cebu Pacific vice president for marketing and distribution Candice Iyog said.
“As the airline industry grows, it is very important to plan ahead to be at par with other international airports,” she added.
Roxas earlier blamed the airlines for delays caused by the tight scheduling of flights, given NAIA’s limited facilities. He said the Department of Transportation and Communications (DoTC) might compel airlines to cut flights to ease congestion.
In response, Cebu Pacific outlined quick steps that the government could implement to improve NAIA’s efficiency in serving the riding public’s needs.
Cebu Pacific said the government should fast-track the transfer of aviation schools and hangars for private jets in NAIA to secondary airports. It said the operations of these small planes accounted for 17 percent of traffic in NAIA.
The airline also called on the DoTC to quickly equip secondary airports around the country with appropriate equipment to allow them to handle night flights. Cebu Pacific said this would allow airlines to spread out their flights throughout the day. For instance, Caticlan, the gateway to one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, Boracay, cannot host flights after sunset.
Iyog said the government should also hire additional airport tower and aerodome personnel to complement night-rated airports, as well as setting up of additional Customs, Immigration and Quarantine services in airports outside Manila.
This will allow airlines to base aircraft in or operate international flights from airports outside Manila, further decongesting NAIA’s runways.
Lastly, Cebu Pacific said the Manila International Airport Authority’s (MIAA) plan to build additional rapid exit ways should be implemented immediately.
“We hope our passengers understand that we continue working with the government to minimize these delays, and that this is one of Cebu Pacific’s main operational priorities,” Iyog said. She said the airline had been active in helping the government solve the problem of congestion at NAIA.
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