New NAIA runway system 'greener,' 'safer'

Posted at 07/06/12 10:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines – The coordinated arrival system implemented by aviation officials in an effort to decongest the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) is more “environment-friendly” and “safer,” according to retired Lt. Gen. William Hotchkiss III.

Hotchkiss, who was recently elected as director-general of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), has the unenviable task of decongesting the country’s busy airport.

Hotchkiss said the CAAP has coordinated with Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific, the two biggest airlines in the country, to implement the arrival system.

The new system involves coordinating with an aircraft’s departure point.

If an aircraft does not have a landing slot at the NAIA, the aircraft will not be allowed to take off from its airport of origin.

“We took over CAAP just last week and we have thought of a solution to at least partly decongest the runway. So far, so good,” he told ANC’s “Prime Time” on Friday.

Hotchkiss said the number of events, or takeoffs and landings, has been limited to 40 during peak hours.

He said the events have also been organized in an orderly fashion to avoid airplanes circling the “holding pattern,” or the pattern flown by an aircraft awaiting clearance to land at an airport.

“We’ll have a greener atmosphere because [the planes] will use up less fuel. The airlines are really saving up a lot of fuel. An A320, for instance, eats up P7,000 worth of fuel for one minute of flight,” he said.

“That’s going to cost a lot of savings for the airlines and, ultimately, it will result to a safer flight for all,” he added.

Sangley Point

Hotchkiss said the CAAP is also implementing other measures in an effort to decongest NAIA.

Small aircrafts making “fish runs” to provinces are now directed to land at the Sangley Point airport in Cavite to avoid congestion during peak hours.

From Cavite, the fish distributors will then transport the products to Manila by truck.

Hotchkiss said this will help in making the NAIA runway exclusive for tourists and the travelling public.

He also said aircrafts from flight schools are also slowly being taken out of NAIA.

“Since last year, the flight schools have been told to get out of NAIA and they have been doing that,” he said.

The 69-year-old Hotchkiss, who previously served as commanding general of the Philippine Air Force from 1996 to 1999, replaced Ramon Gutierrez as CAAP head.