Airlines’ on-time performance hit 83% in Sept | Inquirer Business
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Airlines’ on-time performance hit 83% in Sept

/ 04:13 AM October 28, 2019

Local flight delays in Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport were minimized in September, resulting in an industry-wide on-time performance of 83 percent, a record so far this year.

The figure was released by the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (Acap), whose members include Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific and AirAsia Philippines.

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September is in the midst of the lean travel season. Moreover, the 83 percent last month was below the 85 percent recorded in September 2018. But it also comes as airlines ramp up operations and expand their respective fleets amid still robust demand for air travel.

Industry stakeholders said improvements at Naia, alongside changes in internal airline operations, helped boost on-time performance.

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Based on industry standards, a flight is on time if it leaves within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure.

“We thank the government for working with the airlines to address growing demand,” Cebu Pacific CEO and outgoing Acap chair Lance Gokongwei said in a statement.

“The use of Runway 31 for takeoff has led to faster movement of aircraft, reduced aircraft taxi times resulting in less ramp congestion. We have also seen a reduction in departure clearance time delays because of better airspace management and the full use of the new air traffic and navigation system,” he added.

On-time performance at Naia, which is operating well above its design capacity, stood at 65 percent during the first quarter of 2019 and deteriorated further to 62 percent in the second quarter, which covered the busy summer travel season.

The poor on-time performance prompted Acap to sign a pledge to support decongestion at Naia in June.

“We thank the airlines for their cooperation and for making changes in their respective operations to enhance the travel experience of airport users,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said in a statement.

These changes include stricter adherence to gate closure and door closure times, deployment of stand-by flight deck crews at the airport “to reduce response time to unexpected situations” and better monitoring.

Another initiative to decongest Naia is the upgrade of the Sangley airport in Cavite. The DOTr said Sangley airport would be ready for its operational dry run on Oct. 29 this year. The gateway will initially handle general aviation and turboprop flights. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS

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