aviation industry

HIGHLIGHTS: House, Senate investigate New Year fiasco affecting NAIA

HIGHLIGHTS: House, Senate investigate New Year fiasco affecting NAIA


The Philippines’ main gateway blacked out after a power outage jolted its air traffic control on New Year’s Day, January 1, leaving at least 65,000 passengers stranded and disrupting some 300 flights.

Flight cancellations led to a domino effect, adversely impacting business and exposing vulnerabilities in the country’s national security systems. Talks of privatization have also resurfaced amid the government’s mess.

Bookmark this page for updates and analysis as lawmakers and government agencies probe the New Year’s Day incident.


Low pay drives qualified air traffic controllers out of the country

Lance Spencer Yu

The Philippines is losing its air traffic controllers as they leave for jobs abroad that pay up to nine times more, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said on Tuesday, January 10.

The starting salary for air traffic controllers in the Philippines is only about P40,000 a month. In Qatar, air traffic controllers can earn P380,000 a month, along with free housing benefits for them and their children.

CAAP representatives said that the pay discrepancy has been “the cry of our air traffic controllers since decades ago.”

Read more here.

CAAP: Overvoltage behind the shutdown of equipment


WATCH: House hearing on NAIA air traffic fiasco

HIGHLIGHTS: House, Senate investigate New Year fiasco affecting NAIA

CAAP: 637 flights, over 78,000 passengers affected by New Year fiasco

Lance Spencer Yu

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) updated its figures on the number of flights and passengers affected by the New Year fiasco.

From January 1 to 2, a total of 637 flights were either cancelled, diverted, or delayed, affecting more than 78,000 passengers.

Is it time for the Philippines air traffic control to be privatized?

Ralf Rivas

Talks of privatizing the Ninoy Aquino International Airport have been revived once more. Now included in the discussions is the possible privatization of air traffic control after the New Year fiasco.

Some countries have already privatized air traffic navigation, while others remain wary of putting these systems into private hands. In the case of the United States, former president Donald Trump pushed for privatization as part of his infrastructure agenda. But US lawmakers were quick to block proposals, citing national security concerns.

Meanwhile, countries like Canada offer a non-profit, non-share model which irons out issues on industry representation and government intervention.

More on the issue in this in-depth report by Ralf Rivas.

At least P13 billion needed to upgrade air traffic systems

Lance Spencer Yu

Transport Secretary Jaime Bautista earlier said the government may need to shell out more than P13 billion to upgrade the Philippines’ air traffic management system to prevent future flight suspensions.

Officials said that the uninterrupted power supply blowers failed. Airport authorities said that new equipment was already procured and is expected to arrive within 30 days.

Read more on Rappler.

Manila’s air traffic fiasco: A refresher

Lance Spencer Yu, Jodesz Gavilan

Travelers looking to end the holiday season on a high note were met with quite the opposite as hundreds of flights to and from Metro Manila were canceled on New Year’s day.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines said that the air traffic management system encountered “technical issues” which left 65,000 passengers stranded.

Here’s a timeline and compilation of statements.

House committee hearing set on Tuesday, January 10


The House transportation committee is set to hold a hearing on the New Year air traffic mess at 10 am (Manila time) on Tuesday, January 10.

The Department of Transportation, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, and other agencies concerned have been invited.

Bookmark this page for the hearing livestream.