Naia projects to address congestion
The government is studying the construction of new passenger terminals at the busy Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), which alongside a current plan to increase utilization of its runways, would allow the country’s main air gateway to combat congestion.
Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) deputy director general Rodante Joya said Friday that Naia was already reaching its saturation point, with its current passenger load at about 33 million passengers per year. He said it was possible to expand the airport further to accommodate 50 million passengers per year.
The four passenger terminals at Naia have a design capacity of 31 million passenger annually, The International Air Transport Association said in a previous report.
During CAAP’s first Philippine Aviation Summit, which ran from Sept. 24-25, Joya unveiled a proposal for a fifth passenger terminal, which will be located near Merville subdivision.
He said the government also needed to resolve legal roadblocks that would allow it to demolish the Philippine Village Hotel at the Naia complex and redevelop the area as an expansion of Naia Terminal 2.
He said those two projects would help Naia reach a capacity of 50 million passengers a year.
He added that they were already moving to decongest Naia’s runways, which are presently able to handle about 40 aircraft movements (landing and take-off events) an hour.
Recently, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) tapped British firm NATS to increase runway utilization at Naia.
The DOTC said the P66-million contract with NATS would increase hourly air traffic movement from the current 40 to 60, an increase of 50 percent. NATS would do this by “determining the optimal configuration for the airport’s intersecting runways,” the department said.
For the first six months, NATS will evaluate Naia’s current airspace, runway and terminal capacities; air traffic and surface operations; runway access points as well as air traffic control training.
The department said the contract with NATS, overall, would optimize runway capacity by cutting aircraft occupancy times; develop air traffic controllers’ surveillance capabilities through technology and determining needed alterations to access points, and maximize available airspace by reducing restrictions and making procedural improvements to tighten intervals between aircraft movements.
NATS provides air traffic navigation services to the world’s busiest single- and dual-runway airports: London Gatwick handles 53 air traffic movements (ATM) an hour and more than 250,000 flights a year, and London Heathrow handles 90 ATMs an hour and more than 470,000 flights a year.
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