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Tugade: 'Basket of ideas' needed to decongest NAIA

June 13, 2019 - Thursday 6:06 PM by Funny Pearl A. Gajunera

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Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade on Thursday said the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is working on “a basket of solutions” to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), which has of late been suffering numerous flight delays, cancelations, and other disruptions.

In a radio interview on Thursday, Tugade said these solutions include airport infrastructure developments in Clark and Sangley as well as the construction of the New Manila International Airport in Bulacan.

READ: 24/7 construction in Sangley Airport begins

Kombinasyon ng samu’t saring pamamaraan ang kailangan para maibsan ang congestion sa NAIA 1, 2, 3, at 4. We have to have a basket of approaches, hindi iisang solusyon lang dahil talagang napakaraming pasahero,” he said.

(The congestion at NAIA 1,2, 3, and 4 needs a combination of various solutions. We have to have a basket of approaches, not just one solution, because there are so many passengers.)

According to the DOTr, the NAIA has seen a substantial increase in the number of passengers, flights, and airport slots per hour in recent yeras, resulting in a "distressing state of congestion."

"Prior to 2016, NAIA passenger traffic was at 36.5 million. By 2018, the figure has increased to 45 million, or an upsurge of 8.4 million passengers (23.08 percent),” the DOTr said in a statement.

It said during the same period, the number of flights also grew by over 14,000 or 5.75 percent, and airport slots per hour have increased from 36 to 44 or by 22.22 percent.

In a bid to hold airlines accountable for their performance to the air-riding public, the DOTr has been publishing daily since mid-May the On-Time Performance (OTP) rating of airline companies, as well as the reasons for flight delays, on major newspapers and official DOTr online platforms.

But the DOTr said sometimes the cause of flight delays and cancelations cannot be avoided.

On June 9, NAIA flights were delayed because of a red lighting alert issued by the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) which lasted for over two hours.

"A red lightning alert is issued when a thunderstorm, accompanied by intense lightning activity, is within nine kilometers from the airport,” the DOTr said.

The delays that day apparently got the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte, who went on a surprise visit to NAIA Terminal 2 to find out for himself what was causing the problems.

During his visit, the President vowed to remedy the problem within the month.

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