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Duterte hints at NAIA management revamp; wants domestic flights moved to Sangley

June 11, 2019 - Tuesday 3:06 PM by Jon Joaquin, PNA

President Rodrigo Duterte presides over the 38th Cabinet Meeting at the Malacañan Palace on June 10, 2019. SIMEON CELI JR./PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

President Rodrigo Duterte has “hinted” that the management of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will be revamped as he expressed dismay at the delays and disruptions of flights being experienced at the facility.

In an update on the Cabinet meeting held from Monday night to Tuesday morning, Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Paneio said the President also directed Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade to immediately start the operation of Sangley Airbase for general aviation or domestic flights.

The President had made a surprise visit to NAIA Terminal 2 past midnight Monday to find out for himself what was causing numerous flight delays, cancelations, and other disruptions.

The President talked to airline and NAIA officials regarding the cancellations and delays “to know whether there are flight diversions and if affected passengers are given incentives to ease their inconvenience,” according to a Malacañang statement.

The statement said a Philippine Airlines (PAL) manager and a NAIA Terminal 2 airport duty manager briefed the President on the flight woes and explained actions being undertaken to normalize the situation.

During his visit, the President vowed to come up with a remedy for the problem within the month.

Panelo said according to Tugade, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) plans to transfer general aviation or domestic flights to Sangley Airbase.

Tugade had already initiated the testing of ferries that can operate from Mall of Asia to Sangley within 18 to 24 minutes, Panelo added.

"The President directed the operations in Sangley Point to start immediately,” he said.

In a Palace briefing on Tuesday, Panelo said the President wants the Sangley Airbase in Cavite to accommodate domestic flights by November.

He said this is a month earlier than Tugade’s target to transfer the domestic flights from the NAIA to Sangley Airbase by December.

Panelo said the President also wants airport security to be handled by a single entity, either from the military or civilian force, to ensure passengers’ safety.

Tugade will be drafting an executive order (EO) for the President's consideration, Panelo said.

Sangley Airbase or the Danilo Atienza Air Base in Sangley Point, Cavite used to be a US naval station base until it was turned over to the Philippine Navy and Air Force in 1971. With a report from PNA

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