‘Plane always late’ no more?
Shedding an old image of constant flight delays, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) said it had posted the highest on-time performance (OTP) among local carriers in Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport for the month of October this year.
PAL, which earned the nickname “Plane Always Late” in the 1990s, registered an OTP of 92 percent for both domestic and international flights last month. It said it was ahead of its domestic rivals in Naia, the country’s congested main gateway.
A flight is considered on time if it leaves within 15 minutes of the scheduled departure.
The government last June launched a crackdown on flight delays in Naia in view of the congestion in the airport. Industry stakeholders, however, said the lack of capacity in Manila was also to blame. The Civil Aeronautics Board is also set to issue its rules penalizing carriers that record “chronic” delays.
“Together with other Philippine carriers, PAL signed a pledge of commitment in late June vowing to work toward improved on-time performance through effective management of flight operations and usage of airport slots,” PAL said in a statement.
On its own, PAL said it undertook measures to cut flight delays.
It cited more efficient aircraft movement and schedule management, pre-flight passenger and ground handling processes, post-flight evaluation designed to refine and improve all action steps, and closer coordination with the airport and aviation authorities.
PAL said that for the months of July, August and September this year, its on-time performance hit 80 percent, 82 percent, and 89 percent, respectively. The period also fell under the lean travel season.
PAL also underscored the support of the Department of Transportation and its attached agencies as it noted that “many delays are a result of airport infrastructure constraints beyond the control of airlines.”
“The combined efforts of the authorities and the airlines were instrumental in significantly improving the reliability of airline operations at the Naia, which is the hub of various Philippine carriers,” PAL said.
The flag carrier operates the largest international airline hub at the Naia complex, with flights out of Naia Terminals 1, 2 and 3. —MIGUEL R. CAMUS
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