DOTC teams up with renowned British firm to ease NAIA air traffic (Philippines News Agency)

The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) on Monday said it is teaming up with renowned British firm NATS to optimize runway use at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as part of its efforts to ease air traffic congestion.

NATS currently provides air traffic navigation services to the world’s busiest single- and dual-runway airports namely, London Gatwick that handles 53 air traffic movements (ATMs) per hour and over 250,000 flights per year; and London Heathrow handles 90 ATMs per hour and over 470,000 flights per year.

The company has also boosted runway capacity at the Hong Kong International Airport by 30 percent, redesigned Dubai’s Al Maktoum International Airport’s airspace, and is now tasked to increase ATMs at the Singapore Changi Airport.

DOTC said that the PHP66-million NAIA Runway Optimization project was awarded to the joint venture between NATS Services Limited and Schema Konsult, Inc.

Improvements will focus on the optimization of runway capacity through cutting aircrafts’ occupancy times; developing Air Traffic Controllers’ (ATC) surveillance capabilities through technology and determining necessary alterations to access points; and maximization of available airspace by reducing restrictions and making procedural improvements to tighten intervals between aircraft movements.

Meanwhile, NATS will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the airport’s current airspace, runway, and terminal capacities; air traffic and surface operations; runway access points; and ATC training during the first six months.

Over the contract’s 12-month span, the group is set to increase hourly ATMs from 40 to 60, by determining the optimal configuration for the airport’s intersecting runways.

Meanwhile, the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) will implement the recommended improvement measures over the ensuing six months.

The MIAA and CAAP have also implemented certain measures to help ease runway congestion. These include the reactivation of Runway last July 31 and the relocation of general aviation activities.

In response, DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya expressed enthusiasm with working with the renowned British firm.

We are excited to work with one of the world’s best firms in the industry towards optimizing NAIA’s runway capacity, Abaya said.

With NATS – which has worked on the Dubai, Singapore, and Heathrow Airports – we can expect safer, more efficient operations, and much less flight delays and cancellations, he added. (PNA)