Air traffic system glitch may drive away tourists — Sen. Binay
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Nancy Binay on Monday warned that the recent glitch that struck the country’s air traffic control system and disrupted hundreds of domestic and international flights might make tourists think twice before visiting the country.
“What happened last Sunday is scary and terrifying, and anyone who plans to travel to the Philippines this year may have second thoughts about visiting,” Binay, who chairs the Senate committee on tourism, said in a statement.
Binay also said that the incident is a significant setback to the government’s effort to promote the country as a tourist destination.
“Sadly, we just hogged the headlines in every news channel and newspaper abroad. How do we guarantee a unique, high-value experience to our foreign guests if we don’t address, find solutions, and fix our broken public transport system?” she pointed out.
“Airport service quality and passenger satisfaction greatly impact Philippine tourism. [What happened to] Naia makes it hard for us to promote traveling to the Philippines when a service attribute has failed. I hope we learn something from this experience and past experiences and have a well-trained airport and airline personnel ready to handle these kinds of extraordinary cases and manage a certain amount of chaos to temper an unpleasant situation,” Binay added.
On Sunday, hundreds of flights were either delayed, canceled, or diverted to other airports, affecting over 56,000 passengers scheduled to arrive at or depart from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and other airports across the country.
Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines Director General Capt. Manuel Tamayo said that the power supply of the Air Traffic Management Center Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance Systems for Air Traffic Management had failed and caused damage to key components.
The Senate will inquire into the recent glitch as soon as flight operations return to normal, according to Senator Grace Poe, the chairperson of the chamber’s Committee on Public Services.
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