More flight cancellations seen as CAAP upgrades NAIA navigation system

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MANILA — Air passengers should expect more flights to be affected on Nov. 15-20, as arriving flights will be reduced by four per hour, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) spokesperson Eric Apolonio.

In an interview with  Philippine News Agency (PNA) on Thursday, Apolonio said, this  is part of the safety measure needed as CAAP improves the air navigational system at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Apolonio explained that during the said period, the air navigational system will have a transition phase, or the “migration from the old Manila ACC radar, which has a limited capacity, to the CNS-ATM system, which could cover the whole country”.

The Communications, Navigation, Surveillance / Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) system is expected to enhance the safety and efficiency of air traffic, the aviation official said, thus enabling a more definite aircraft identification and better airspace management.

To work on an enhanced air navigational system, CAAP has requested all airlines using the NAIA to reduce the number of their flights.

He clarified, however, that it was just a request, not compulsory.

“But whether or not (they heed this request), flights will definitely be affected because of the four arriving flights that will be reduced per hour,” Apolonio pointed out.

Currently, NAIA can accommodate 20 arriving flights per hour.

Apolonio said the upgrading will affect some of the air carriers’ slot, thus, they would need to adjust.

On Wednesday, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced the cancellation of many of its domestic and international flights scheduled for Nov. 14-19.

“(PAL) had to make an announcement because many of its flights will be affected,” Apolonio noted, reiterating it is on the airlines’ discretion which flights to cancel.

The transition phase, however, will have little effect on international flights, according to Apolonio.

“PAL has many fleets, so they had to make an announcement. Most of the international carriers, on the other hand, will just arrive here and leave, so the (transition phase) will have little effect on them,” he explained.

He added that international carriers could probably have at least one flight to cancel. –PNA

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