Saturday, January 22, 2011

P80M pledged for new NAIA navigation aids

MANILA, Philippines—The Manila International Airport Authority has pledged to allocate P80 million for the acquisition of new navigational aids at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport following a series of malfunctions by the old equipment at the country’s prime airport.

Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines director general Ramon Gutierrez said he would meet with MIAA officials in a week or two to draw up the terms for the acquisition of the very high omni-directional radio range (VOR).

Although the piece of equipment costs P120 million, Gutierrez said the two agencies would try to “work within” the budget, and would negotiate with the same manufacturer of the old unit.

Once the terms of reference has been drawn up, a bidding would be called, he said, adding that the old VOR would not be put out of commission.

“Our technicians said the old unit could still be used as backup, or in warm-up mode, so that if problems with the new one cropped up, we could revert to using the old one,” Gutierrez said.

The VOR transmits signals to the pilot from origin to destination, helping the aircraft navigate and land safely, especially at night when visibility is poor.

Early this month, the VOR beside the NAIA runway broke down for two hours due to a power supply problem, affecting two domestic flights that had to be diverted to Clark International Airport.

In June last year, the equipment also malfunctioned, forcing the cancellation of several international and domestic flights, particularly evening flights.

NAIA was compelled at the time to borrow equipment from Subic International Airport until the defective parts of the VOR were replaced.


NEHA JAIN                                                                                                                

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