Govt studying ‘slot system’ to decongest NAIA
The system will not allow domestic carriers flying to NAIA to take off from their points of origin if there are no available slots at the NAIA runway

MANILA, Philippines – The government is reviewing a proposal from an Australian firm to ease runway traffic at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in Manila.

Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas told reporters on Monday, July 2, that local airlines hired a “slotting coordinator” from Australia that has developed a system that will adjust flight schedules at NAIA.

Roxas said the system will limit the number of takeoffs and landings at the airport to a maximum of 40 during peak hours, from 7 am to 4 pm.

He said that based on data, flights registered at the NAIA runway during the summer season averaged 2,620 in a week, with actual events per hour going as high as 48.

The proposal showed that after removing all flights to local destinations with night-landing capabilities, such as Kalibo, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Bacolod, total events went down to 2,294. On a per hour basis, events went only as high as 41 or a 12% reduction of flights.

NAIA’s runway should only accommodate 36 events per hour, on the average, to maintain safety standards.

The congestion in the airport is one of the issues that the new director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) vows to address.

CAAP director-general William Hotchkiss III said the planned slotting system will not allow domestic aircraft flying to NAIA to take off from their points of origin if there are no available slots at the NAIA runway yet.

“The purpose of this is to reduce flights placed on holding patterns by the Air Traffic Control until safe landing spaces are available,” Hotchkiss, a former commanding officer of Philippine Air Force, said. “This would also result to significant savings for the airlines because airplanes such as an Airbus A320 burns fuel worth about P7,000 per minute on a holding pattern.” –

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