DOTr vows to improve airports ops nationwide

MANILA The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has vowed to implement a roadmap that will improve the operations of airports in the country after a Xiamen Air jet skidded off the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Thursday night resulting in thousands of stranded passengers due to delayed flights.

In a statement Tuesday, the DOTr said it is improving the facilities and structures of existing gateways, such as NAIA Terminals 1-4 and building alternative airports, such as Sangley and Bulacan to decongest NAIA.

It will also be establishing air traffic control and management systems.

Meanwhile, the DOTr reiterated that safety protocols were implemented in removing the aircraft, noting that the NAIA management took several hours to remove the aircraft due to its massive weight and highly-combustible material that might cause fire or explosions.

Recovering a disabled aircraft is far different from towing a bus or a car. There are technical protocols (ICAO standards) and intervening factors that all international airports observe in recovering a disabled aircraft, the DOTr said.

In the case of the recent Xiamen incident, please note that in addition to its size and weight, there were also four tons of unused fuel at the wings that are highly combustible, necessitating extra care to avoid fire or explosion. Apart from passengers, we also think about the safety of the rescuers. One false move, the plane might explode, it added.

A high capacity telescopic crane was also deployed to lift the plane as it landed on a muddy terrain amid heavy rains and strong winds.

The DOTr said the incident will serve as a reminder to review the Air Passenger Bill of Rights and intervention measures between the airlines and airport management, assess equipment inventory and improve the training modules at airports in cases of emergencies.

The DOTr also appealed for the understanding of the public as it moves to resolve the issue.

We appeal to the public, and our fellow public servants in government, as well as those from the media and private sector, to work hand in hand with us in resolving this issue. Allow us to work first so that we can address the problem entirely. Accusing, sowing intrigues and maligning our offices and officials will not help at this time, it said. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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