Senator Nancy Binay expressed concern over the air traffic system glitch at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) that crippled international and domestic flight operations on New Year’s Day.
“Una sa lahat, buti na lamang at walang nangyaring anumang aksidente… but what happened last Sunday is scary and terrifying, and anyone who has plans of travelling to the Philippines this year may have second thoughts of visiting,” noted Binay, who chairs the Senate Committee on Tourism.
The Philippines will be hosting several international events in 2023, including the much-awaited 2023 FIBA World Cup.
“As we open up our tourism, hindi na dapat maulit ang nangyari. 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?” the veteran legislator said.
“The bigger picture is fixing our public transport problem for the benefit of all.”
“That’s why I am appealing to the DBM (Department of Budget and Management) to help in sourcing the needed funds for CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) para maumpisahan na ang pag-upgrade at pag-augment ng mga system at equipment sa ating mga airport. Kung ‘di natin mapopondohan, wala talagang mangyayari. The bigger picture is fixing our public transport problem for the benefit of all,” the seasoned lawmaker added.
The lady senator added that the incident has left a big setback in the government’s effort to promote the Philippines.
“Airport service quality and passenger satisfaction have a great impact on Philippine tourism.”
“Airport service quality and passenger satisfaction have a great impact on Philippine tourism. Yung nangyari sa NAIA makes it hard for us to promote travelling to the Philippines when a service attribute has failed. I hope we learn something from this experience and past experiences, and have 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,” she stressed.
Binay added that it is about time to conduct a full audit of all navigational and communications equipment installed in all airports in the country.
According to her, the air navigation glitch that stranded thousands of holiday travelers is quite bothersome and concerning. The said technical glitch has resulted in the loss of power supply, critical navigational communications, radar, radio, and internet which has shut Philippine air space for hours.
“Imagine, several hours of inconvenience and unproductive waiting for passengers… inconvenience to PWDs (persons with disabilities) and senior citizens, losses to tourism and business. This is not the first time that this occurred–there were similar incidents that happened in 2016 and 2018. Our airports, being critical facilities, should have a reliable backup system to handle these kinds of extra-ordinary and emergency situations. What happened on Sunday clearly demonstrates how vulnerable we are, and with either a hardware or software glitch, we can all be crippled,” Binay pointed out.
She added that the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Office of Transport Security (OTS), CAAP and the Manila International Airport Authority likewise need to start identifying current and potential hazards related to airport operations.
“Sana matulungan ng DBM si DoTR Sec. Bautista na mahanapan ng pondo ang kailangang upgrade at equipment ng CAAP for this year. Kailangan na natin itong maumpisahan ngayong taon, kaya importante na makahanap ang Executive Department ng funding source para agad na nating mabigyan ng solusyon ito,” Binay concluded.