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‘Emergency Runway’ at NAIA proposed

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After the incident that happened August 16 when a Chinese airline went off on runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport that led to the cancellation, delayed and diverts of many flights of Philippines’ main gateway, a business group proposed the creation of an “emergency runway”.

The delapidating Ninoy Aquino International Airport had underwent several face lift, but it must also upgrade its facilities to ensure unhampered flight operations. Thus, the Management Association of the Philippines committee on national issues headed by Eduardo Yap proposed that the existing taxiway beside NAIA’s main runway must be improved to serve two functions, as a taxiway and an emergency runway.

The Xiamen Airlines Boeing B737 “encountered runway excursion after landing” that caused the cancellation of around 165 international and local flights.

Read related story: Chinese passenger plane stalls at NAIA runway

Yap said, the proposed emergency runway will only be used when the main runway is closed, and not for simultaneous flight operations.

In an interview, Yap narrated, “London’s Gatwick, UK’s second busiest airport has such a runway, which is called a maintenance-cum-emergency runway. It is narrower in width and shorter than its main runway and located just 100 meters away.”

He went on, “Because of this, London Gatwick is the most efficient single-runway airport in the world with 45 million passengers last year. This is a solution that NAIA airport authorities should take into consideration and when feasible must be quickly implemented.”

 It took almost 36 hours for the airport authorities before the runway was cleared. However, while DOTr Secretary Arturo Tugade was apologetic, he swiped at his critics for slow aircraft recovery by saying that aircraft recovery is not like towing a car.

Read related story: NAIA back to normal operations, Tugade apologized for the experience

 Other business group expressed their concern for the deterioration of NAIA, because it was not only the tourist passengers that are affected but also the OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) and also the airline industry.

Read related stories:

OFW fears of losing their jobs, being jailed due to NAIA fiasco, prompts Senate investigation

PAL bears millions of pesos loss in NAIA fiasco

DOT chief worries that NAIA chaos might affect tourist arrivals

For President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration, the proposals to build airports outside the capital and give NAIA a makeover is being seriously entertained since there are already airport facilities and infrastructures at Clark International Airport.

Early this month, the government intimated that a consortium of seven conglomerates the much sought-after original proponent status for its plan to rehabilitate NAIA. The multi-billion peso offer seeks to transform NAIA into a regional hub that is comparable with Singapore’s Changi Airport and Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.

With the NAIA mishap last week, the MAP asked the government to fast-track the approval of offers from the private sector to upgrade the overstretched airport.The group lauded the expansion of the Clark International Airport and said it would really ensure that future air traffic bottlenecks are going to be prevented.

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