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Don’t blame the airlines for flight delays

/ 04:47 AM May 27, 2014

Don’t blame the airlines for delays in the departure and arrival of their planes which are now a regular—rather than an occasional—occurrence.

Blame the government for not widening the runway or constructing more runways at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

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Naia is the main hub of the country’s airport system.

These delays at Naia affect the timetable of the country’s other airports. Call it a ripple effect.

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For example, a Davao-bound Cebu Pacific flight that didn’t leave Naia on time will arrive at its destination late. Its flight back to Manila will also be delayed.

Ditto with Philippine Airlines and other domestic airlines.

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The Naia runway can no longer accommodate as many planes for takeoff and landing as it used to.

There just are too many planes coming in and out of the country’s premier international airport.

The runway was built decades ago and since then, the number of planes making Naia their port of call has increased by leaps and bounds.

There is heavy traffic in and out of Naia.

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The premier airport’s runway should either be expanded or more runways should be constructed to accommodate more planes, according to experts.

Another factor causing congestion at the Naia runway is the lack of expert air-traffic controllers manning the airport tower.

Air-traffic controllers are like traffic cops at a busy intersection, regulating the flow of aircraft landing and taking off.

They tell arriving planes when to land and departing flights when to take off.

It takes years of experience for one to become an expert traffic controller.

The Philippines is losing traffic controllers who receive an average of P30,000 a month to other countries that offer a monthly salary of $10,000 (P440,000 at the current exchange rate).

So the next time your flight is delayed, by all means fume but don’t blame the airline; blame the government for its lack of foresight and inefficiency.

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If the administration of President Noy is daring enough, it should buy out owners of houses and lots in middle-class villages, as well as the houses of squatter colonies surrounding Naia, to make room for the expansion of the runway.

P-Noy can set aside billions of pesos for the purpose.

After all, he has done away with the much reviled Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

With the savings from the abolition of PDAF, plus the money collected from departing passengers as airport tax and terminal fee, the government can afford to buy out the owners of houses surrounding the airport.

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Despite a quadruple bypass, Jose Angel Honrado, Naia general manager, refuses to resign and let another more capable and healthier man take over his place.

Honrado, a close relative of the President, is the most inefficient general manager Naia has ever had.

With his condition, he should have resigned because the job is too stressful for him.

But the guy doesn’t mind the stress and continues to burn the candle at both ends.

One wonders why he continues to hold on.

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TAGS: Air Transport, airlines, flight delays, Government, Jose Angel Honrado, NAIA, Philippines
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