By Raïssa Robles
Today, Philippine Star columnist Boo Chanco mentioned my exclusive report on how NAIA’s air traffic congestion is worsening.
Boo takes an even more urgent note by entitling his column – Air tragedies waiting to happen
Here’s that portion of Boo’s article:
Air tragedies waiting to happen
DEMAND AND SUPPLY By Boo Chanco (The Philippine Star) Updated May 04, 2011
The DOTC is playing Russian roulette with our lives… at least those of us who travel by air quite often. Over the past few days, we have been told that facilities and operating conditions at NAIA are putting the lives of air travelers at serious risk.
First is the blog of fellow journalist Raissa Robles. Last Sunday, she posted an exclusive report in her blog about how NAIA’s air traffic congestion is worsening. I thought that was nothing new or serious… same old story of incompetence and corruption. But I was mistaken. It was worse than I thought.
The takeoff and landing of planes at the runways of the NAIA complex, Raissa reports, is now “going beyond safe limits”. Raissa said she was shocked when an official told her that.
Apparently, congestion on NAIA’s runways has led to constant flight delays of as long as 80 minutes, usually with plane loads of passengers sitting idle on the tarmac at the country’s premier international airport. Or worse, as my associate, Carla Paras Sison commented on Raissa’s posting.
Carla and her family were on a plane last weekend that hovered over NAIA for 30 minutes before being allowed to land. Imagine the additional fuel uselessly burned and carbon emitted as well as potential dangers of more planes also circling.
According to Raissa, her government official source told her that during peak hours: Takeoffs and landings are less than one minute apart; there are even times there are 36 landings per hour – or landings less than two minutes apart; and even as many as 45 landings per hour – or one landing every 80 seconds.
Raissa wonders: “It boggles the mind how our air traffic controllers are able to prevent disasters on a daily basis. I know we have some of the best air traffic controllers in the world. But they are overworked. I hope the government looks into this problem with utmost urgency.”
As if Raissa’s report isn’t scary enough, PhilStar reported last Monday that a DOTC audit has declared NAIA air traffic system to be below international standards. Apparently, an air traffic management system worth P511 million installed at the NAIA by minions of Ate Glue, does not meet international civil aviation standards.
Originally, I had wanted to write about the female restroom at NAIA’s international airport terminal. When I used it two months ago, it looked like this and had no toilet paper. As you can see, the decor is straight out of some horror “B” movie.
No toilet paper, even
The least I expected to get at NAIA, after paying the 750 pesos airport terminal fee, was four squares from a roll of toilet paper.
Where does all that terminal fee go?
Because my flight was in the morning, I ate my lunch at NAIA – if you could call a measly bowl of overpriced noodle soup lunch. I wanted to save money by not buying any lunch on Jetstar. I was mistaken. The lunch at NAIA cost more than the meal on board Jetstar even if the latter was quoted in dollars.
There is no decent meal to be had at NAIA. The terrible hotdog in a bun, over-mayonnaised chicken sandwich, a tube of potato chips and two cans of soft drinks cost 700 pesos.
I would like to know who are the “food” concessionaires at NAIA and why they are being allowed to rake in so much money serving such yucky food.
I’ve heard reports that such concessions are usually given to mistresses of government officials. That can’t possibly happen, no not in the Philippines, the only Catholic country in Asia.
I’ve eaten better meals at food stalls in Quiapo.
To read the rest of Boo Chanco’s article, click on this link.