NAIA High Risk Airport According to Global Carriers


MANILA, Philippines – Global airlines have tagged the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) as one of the high-risk airports in the Asia-Pacific region due to unresolved safety concerns as well as poor infrastructure.

In a paper entitled “Immediate and long-term priorities for Manila Airports,” the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said member airlines were seriously concerned about the safety of the ground movement operations and management of the airside infrastructure at the NAIA.

“IATA is gravely concerned with a number of operational issues including some that may compromise safety of airline operations,” IATA said.

It pointed out that NAIA was routinely characterized by airlines as one of the top high-risk airports in the Asia-Pacific from 2010 to 2013 due to air traffic management issues including extended holding, vectors and delays, non-standard air traffic control procedures, among others.

This prompted IATA regional director for safety and flight operations Asia-Pacific Blair Cowles to issue an Operational Notice to all airline members flying to the Philippines via NAIA last May 26.

“This Operational Notice alerts airlines to the ongoing risk to aircraft operations at Manila arising from unaddressed deficiencies in airside ground movement aids,” Cowles said.

He pointed out that the association has received an increasing number of airline safety reports since 2012 highlighting deficiencies in airport signage, markings, lighting and charting, particularly at the intersection of Runway 31/13 and Runway 06/24, also known as “hotspot” area.

According to IATA, flight crews have described this “hotspot” area as poorly lit, with markings and signage that are non-standard and poorly maintained, and confusing due to the complex configuration of taxiways.

IATA said it has received three reports of runway incursion events in the “hotspot” area since November last year.

To reduce airside ground safety risks at the “hotspot” area, IATA said ground movement aids should be installed and maintained while air traffic control procedures should be put in place.

Likewise, IATA said aeronautical charts should be updated to accurately show the existing airfield layout, dimensions and markings.

On infrastructure capacity, IATA reiterated the need for higher capacity and throughput through more efficient air traffic control and improvements in the runway system. This should increase the throughput to 51 or even 56 takeoffs and landings per hour from the current 40.

“An increase of 40 percent in capacity will go a long way in reducing the congestion issues at the airport,” IATA said.

It added the government should invest more in developing NAIA over the short to medium term to relieve congestion and help ease existing capacity constraints.

“Limited investment in NAIA will continue to result in the ongoing degradation of passenger experience at NAIA. This will have a detrimental impact on the airport’s ability to attract transfer traffic, and the airport’s reputation in the region,” it said.

The IATA is also pushing for the construction of new terminal buildings with sufficient structural flexibility to accommodate different business models and requirements over time such as additional building levels, power, new aircraft types, emerging technologies, changing security and immigration requirements, among others.

The government, it added, may use the Clark International Airport in Pampanga as an interim solution to alleviate some of the current capacity issues but that it should not be made into a long-term primary gateway.

Instead, IATA said the Philippines should develop a new greenfield airport with sufficient capacity to meet Manila’s aviation needs within a 50-kilometer radius from the city center.

Source: Lawrence Agcaoili, The Philippine Star

Airlines Push Use Of E-Boarding Pass


Airline companies called on passengers to avail of electronic boarding pass they can capture on their mobile phones, tablets or laptops, which was being implemented to ease congestion in the airports and make air travel easier, airline officials said on Monday.

Cebu Pacific, Air Asia and Philippine Air Lines said the use of the mobile boarding pass was mandated by the International Air Transport Association to eliminate paper documents and move to paperless environment by 2016.

“We are offering this service to ease congestion and make traveling a lot easier and more convenient especially with the start of the summer season when most of us will be traveling,” an Air Asia official said.

According to SITA, the airline Information Technology specialist, 53 percent of airlines have implemented the use of mobile boarding pass via apps. The figure is expected to rise to 91 percent by 2017.

Philippine Airlines and the Manila International Airport piloted the paperless procedure last March 16. But airport officials also accepted paper travel documents.

Candice Iyog, Cebu Pacific (CEB) Vice President, Marketing Distribution, said the airline has started generating mobile boarding passes since December last year.

“CEB’s mobile application allows our passengers to book flights and do mobile check-in. The CEB mobile app generates boarding passes that can be scanned at airports,” Iyog said.

She said passengers could get more details about CEB’s mobile app at htt://bit.ly/CEBmobileapp.

Source: Rosalie C. Periabras, The Manila Times

IATA Review of Ninoy Aquino International Airport


Image Source: bilwander

Last Jan. 27, Anthony Houston, a senior IATA official made a presentation before a congressional committee. It seems officials of international airlines have been reporting safety problems and got tired and frustrated being ignored by NAIA officials.

I got a copy of the Power Point presentation from sources in the House of Representatives and only one word describes the contents: ALARMING. Indeed, that’s exactly what the IATA presentation said: “Safety Concerns at NAIA are significant and highly alarming.”

The Philippines ranked below the global average when it comes to three categories: Air Navigation Services, Aerodromes, and Accident Investigation. And worse: Indonesia is ranked higher for Air Navigation and Aerodromes (!).

A sound bite from the IATA official during the congressional hearing: “There’s only one airfield that’s certified to international standards: Cebu.”

IATA made the assessment as part of its program known as STEADES… for Safety Trend Evaluation Analysis and Data Exchange System. The IATA report documents the failures of P-Noy’s bosom buddy, retired Gen. Bodet Honrado as well as CAAP officials who ought to be concerned about safety.

Nakakahiya talaga itong manok ni P-Noy na si Honrado. One big accident and he will surpass the kill record of Alan Purisima at Mamasapano which surpassed the number of dead victims in the Luneta bus massacre Rico Puno, another P-Noy buddy, handled.

A large part of the deficiencies reported are as simple and low tech as the need for proper airport markings, signage and lighting that affects aircraft on the ground and in the air (e.g. approach). The IATA presentation pointed out that such deficiencies can result in unsafe events such as: Runway Incursions; Taxiway Incursions; Missed Approach (Go Around); Delays.

The report defines a Runway/ Taxiway Excursion as an incident where an unauthorized aircraft, vehicle or person is on a runway. This adversely affects runway safety, as it creates the risk that an airplane taking off or landing will collide with the object. IATA gave a couple of examples.

The first example happened Nov. 11, 2014: B77W Taxi Out RUNWAY INCURSION:

The flight was on taxi-out at night. After crossing RWY 13, the flight was inadvertently turned onto TWY R1, instead of following taxiway C.  After the aircraft on landing rollout RWY 06 had passed, ATC cleared the reporting aircraft to continue on TWY R1, enter backtrack RWY 06, vacate via RWY R3 to the holding point RWY 06.  As a result of the runway backtrack, an aircraft lined up for departure RWY 06 was held on ground. Two other aircraft on approach runway 06 were instructed to go-around.

I don’t have space for the second example, but here are snippets from reports airlines have been regularly filing about their experience that they consider safety concerns:

Sample of Air Safety Reports for MNL in 2014:

“…due in part to a lack of RW signage, aircraft had inadvertently entered TWY R1.”

“There is no indication that aircraft will be entering RW13/31 in spite of taxi clearance to “Cross RW 13/31”.

“…Taxiway markings at this “hotspot” are not clearly defined.”

The signage along RW06 to indicate the location of E2 taxiway is not easily discernible in night conditions.”

“The signage is significantly faded and is not lighted, despite being within a known taxiway ‘hotspot’ area.”

“Lack of signage and markings available to ascertain demarcation of runway 13/31 from adjacent taxiway system, despite being located within a known ‘hotspot’ area.”

“RW guard lights for RW 13/31 at intersections along TWY D not switched on.  Additionally, there are no runway stop bar lights installed.”

“Subsequently, increased chance of missing left turn onto D from G-intersections leading out from T3 apron and inadvertently entering RW13/31.”

The airlines, speaking through IATA, claim they regularly send Flight Safety updates to airport authorities and their safety officers have followed up. They are particularly worried about runway incursions. The area around taxiway C and R1 are noted as taxiway /runway incursion hotspot area.

“The local airport authority has been requested to provide an update on the suggested enhancements to the signage and lighting within the area.”

But they “don’t get any response from the airport authority, and there are no ATC investigation reports that we are aware of.” That’s probably why they got IATA in on the act with a report to a congressional committee.

“The situation in Manila requires urgent follow up and I am glad that IATA had already planned a follow up mission to Manila on the 28th-29th January.”

IATA made some safety recommendations in their presentation before the congressional committee:

Immediate actions (completion within 3Q 2015) to reduce runway incursion risk – with focus on main ‘hotspot’.

Immediate response, investigation and follow-up to ALL airline safety reports.

More transparency, cooperation, coordination, communication with a: airlines; b: neighbor States/ Airports for technical advice on: Airfield visual ground aids to meet ICAO Standards.

Implementation of aerodrome SMS with a focus on hazard reporting and feedback systems.

Since NAIA is internationally notorious for congestion, IATA also offered some capacity and Efficiency recommendations:

Re-visit RWY 31 Operations.

Make obstacle assessment available for review.

Consult with airlines to determine best mitigation strategy.

Re-start program to reduce runway occupancy time and taxi delays.

Immediate steps to safely employ more advanced ATM practices to include reduced separation standards.

Immediate consultation with airline users to ensure CNS/ATM upgrades delivers operational improvement.

This is scary. These safety concerns with solutions as simple as fixing airport runway/taxiway signage should be immediately addressed. A collision on the ground can cause fatalities too. And the chaos being brought about by inadequate or lack of proper signage is another cause for the delays we all suffer when we take flights.

It is bad enough DOTC, through neglect, may cause a serious accident at MRT 3, it seems even at NAIA, lives are at stake everyday due to official negligence. This cannot be par for the course for transport officials who daily put people’s lives at risk.

Source:  (The Philippine Star)

Airlines Look For Ways To Swiftly Adopt Tracking System


Qatar_Airways_Boeing_777-300ER_A7-BACMystified by the loss of Malaysian jetliner MH370, some airlines will not wait for an industry wide solution to keeping track of their aircraft flights in real time, provided products are offered at the right price, industry executives said yesterday.

The disappearance of Malaysian Airline Systems’ flight MH370 almost three months ago has prompted calls for real-time tracking of planes and even continuous streaming of black box data.

“It must not happen again,” Tony Tyler, director general of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said at its annual meeting in Doha yesterday.

IATA, which brings together over 200 airlines accounting for 84% of the world’s air traffic, is planning to put aircraft tracking proposals to the UN’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in September, which in turn says a standard could be in place in two to three years.

However, individual airlines could move sooner than that, Tyler said.

“It is the sort of issue where before regulations actually start to bite, airlines will already have made arrangements, they aren’t going to wait,” he said on the sidelines of the meeting.

Qatar Airways, hosting the meeting, said the technology to track planes was available today, citing the possible adaptation to tracking of the existing ACARS Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System as an example, which can deliver communication in short bursts, although it is not continual.

“Qatar is keen to explore this,” Chief Executive Akbar al Baker told reporters.

Industry-owned air transport communications company SITA also said yesterday it was developing a new tracking system that uses technology already installed in aircraft and SITA’s despatch and operations systems.

It said the system was currently being evaluated by several airlines and because it uses system that are already installed, it won’t mean extensives costs for airlines. Industry sources also said Malaysia Airlines was already looking at options that it will implement as soon as possible across its fleet.

For airlines though, a big issue will be ensuring costs for any technology do not spiral out of control, given the industry’s already tight profit margins.

IATA said yesterday its airlines would collectively make a profit of $18bn this year, cutting its forecast from a previous estimate of $18.7bn in March. That would equate to a net profit margin of 2.4%, compared with 1.5% in 2013.

“If it is prohibitively expensive we have to see where the cost benefit is,” Andrew Herdman, director-general of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines said.

“It is not a question of affordability, that is the wrong way of thinking of it in terms of individual airlines. But if it makes sense, the cost is not the issue.”

Airline executives at the IATA meeting said that ultimately costs would be passed onto passengers, rather than governments.

“If we ask governments, some countries, to do this, then there is the issue of national security and defence,” Osamu Shinobe, president and chief executive of All Nippon Airways , said.

However, Willy Walsh, the chief executive of British Airways and Iberia’s parent ICAG, said that there were still “issues that need to be understood”.

“I have no problem with something mandatory if it is a sensible solution and we seek to maximise the use of existing technology,” he added.

Aircraft operated by IAG send out perfomance data through ACARS every 30 minutes and this includes their position, he added.

Meanwhile Air France-KLM said in a statement that since 2009 Air France aircraft have transmitted their position every 10 minutes. That is reduced to one minute if there is an abnormal deviation. KLM has decided to follow suit, it added.

“The measures we have already implemented in this field are efficient and easy to apply,” said Alexandre de Junaic, chairman and chief executive of Air France-KLM.

SITA also said the enhanced tracking capability it was ready to introduce used existing technology that it provides and is already installed on aircraft.

“The solution does not call for extensive additional cost or investment by the airlines,” SITA added in a statement.

Tyler said IATA’s recommendations to be put to ICAO in September would focus only on the tracking of planes and not involve the continuous streaming of data, which would be more complicated to implement. “We must find a way of doing it that doesn’t add significantly to cost. Margins are very thin in the business,” he said.

Asked why it had taken so long to make proposals on tracking, despite calls for action after the Air France 447 crash in 2009, ICAO’s president Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu said it simply took time to find a global consensus.

“We have set in motion a process now,” he said.

Source: Gulf Times

IATA Says Aviation Safety Remains High


Safety in global aviation remains high, the International Air Transport Association said Tuesday, as it seeks to improve in-flight tracking after the disappearance of a Malaysian passenger jet in March.

There were 0.34 accidents per million flights in the first four months of 2014 compared with 0.32 over the preceding five years, IATA said at its annual general meeting in Doha, Qatar.

“The preliminary rate for the industry as a whole (including non-IATA airlines) is performing strongly,” with 0.29 accidents per million flights in January-April against 0.48 in the previous five years, it said.

IATA groups 242 airlines representing 84 percent of global air traffic.

Its statement noted that the industry recorded three accidents between January and April, including the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

“Aviation stakeholders are united in their desire to ensure that we never face another situation where an aircraft simply disappears,” said Kevin Hiatt, senior vice president at IATA’s Safety and Flight Operations department.

MH370 disappeared on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard. An extensive search in the Indian Ocean has been unable to locate the plane.

An IATA taskforce on in-flight tracking, formed by the UN’s aviation agency, the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), is to present its findings in September.

“While states work through ICAO to develop and implement performance-based global standards, the industry is committed to moving forward with recommendations that airlines can implement now,” said Hiatt.

He acknowledged, however, that airlines alone can decide if they want to implement such standards.

Meanwhile the company specialising in air transport communications and information technology SITA announced in Doha plans to introduce a new aircraft tracking device.

“The solution, which is currently being evaluated by several airlines for testing, will utilise technology that is already installed in the aircraft to provide advanced tracking capabilities,” a statement said.

It said the system known as “SITA AIRCOM Server Flight Tracker solution” will alert airline flight dispatchers “to unexpected aircraft movements” it said.

According to its designers, “the solution does not call for extensive additional cost or investment by the airlines” as it relies on a system that is already installed in many aircraft.

Southeast Asian Budget Airlines Slowing Pace of Expansion


Some Discount Carriers Are Deferring or Canceling Aircraft Orders
Some Discount Carriers Are Deferring or Canceling Aircraft Orders

Budget airlines in Southeast Asia are scaling back their breakneck pace of expansion, as passenger demand hasn’t caught up with the capacity boost that has contributed to significant fare pressures.

Some of the region’s biggest discount carriers, such as Malaysia’s AirAsia5099.KU 0.00% Bhd. and Singapore-based Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd. J7X.SG -2.33% , are deferring or canceling aircraft orders while considering reducing investments elsewhere because mounting competition is hurting profitability.

The Southeast Asian region has been the continent’s main hotbed of low-cost carrier growth, with burgeoning markets helping send many middle-class travelers to the skies for the first time.

Budget airlines now carry more than half of Southeast Asia’s airline passengers. These carriers have staged an aggressive cross-border expansion ahead of more-flexible air services arrangements among the region’s 10 nations to be set as early as 2015.

The region’s two dominant discount carriers—AirAsia and Indonesia’s Lion Air—have ordered a combined total of more than 1,000 planes for delivery over the next decade, prompting concerns of overcapacity at a time of slowing economic growth.

Airlines across the Asian-Pacific region have recently recorded some of the weakest traffic growth because of continued weakness in the Chinese economy and the recent contraction in regional trade volumes.

In March, total international passenger traffic in Asia rose just 1.1% from a year earlier, far below the 5.3% rise in new aircraft capacity, according to data released this week by the International Air Transport Association, an industry lobby group.

“It’s a very, very competitive market on the fare side. We’ve seen already a number of carriers take steps to address some of that overordering,” said Robert Martin, chief executive at Singapore-based aircraft leasing firm BOC Aviation Ltd.

“The key thing is the volume of planes coming each year into the region. If they can limit that … it would work,” he said.

AirAsia said earlier it would defer 19 Airbus A320 aircraft that would have arrived this year and the next, noting it would consider replacing the orders with the more fuel efficient A320neo, or new engine option, planes. The airline didn’t respond to requests seeking comment.

Meanwhile, Tigerair recently canceled nine current generation A320 planes that were to arrive in 2014 and 2015, as part of a deal with the aircraft manufacturer to buy 37 A320neos for delivery between 2018 and 2025.

Tigerair, which last week reported a widening group net loss of 95.5 million Singapore dollars ($76.6 million) in the financial year ended March 31, sold its unprofitable Philippines business and said this month it was reviewing its investment in its Indonesian joint venture, Tigerair Mandala.

Tigerair will ground five of Mandala’s nine A320s and three of the five aircraft that are being returned from Tigerair Philippines. Tigerair didn’t respond to calls seeking comment.

AirAsia is also months late in starting commercial flights at its Indian operation, and last year had to pull the plug of its joint venture in Japan due to disagreements with partner All Nippon Airways9202.TO +0.44%

Southeast Asian airlines “are making some adjustments. In some markets there is too much capacity,” notes Brendan Sobie, a regional analyst at CAPA—Centre for Aviation, an industry consultancy.

Aircraft maker Boeing Co. BA +0.17% also said it was on the lookout for possible capacity issues in various global regions.

“One of the areas where we are watching for overcapacity is Southwest and Southeast Asia,” said Randy Tinseth, vice president of marketing at Boeing, which sells its single-aisle 737 jets to Lion Air and other Southeast Asian carriers.

Mr. Tinseth notes that there substantial orders on the books from the region, especially from new business models such as low cost carriers.

While many analysts expect consolidation in the region’s airline industry, they said demand would continue to expand as more people travel.

Lion Air spokesman Leithen Francis said the company would take delivery of up to 38 new jets this year and has no plans to slow down.

“There’s still growth in the Indonesia domestic market, where we are aiming to increase our market share,” Mr. Francis said.

The recent exit of smaller carriers from the Indonesian market is helping Lion Air add capacity as it seeks to increase its market share to 60% from about 50% now, he added.

Meanwhile, Tigerair continues to struggle. On Wednesday, the company said Chief Executive Koay Peng Yen was resigning after less than two years at the helm. He will be succeeded by Lee Lik Hsin, an executive at Singapore Airlines Ltd. C6L.SG +0.29% , which owns a 40% stake in Tigerair.

Source: Gaurav Raghuvanshi, online.wsj.com

 

Government Eyes ‘Ideal’ Travel to Philippines


philippine-flag

THE Philippines will implement the Advance Passenger Information System (APIS) next year, which the Department of Tourism (DOT) hopes will greatly improve the arrival experience of travelers to the country.

Speaking to select reporters on Tuesday, Tourism Secretary Ramon R. Jimenez Jr. said: “The ideal travel experience is one without interruption. We want the entry of travelers into the Philippines to become as smooth and seamless as possible so we need an efficient tool such as an electronic API. This would avoid long queue in our airports, as we can already identify passengers who are ‘bad’ or ‘good.’ But, of course, we have to have a balance between border control/security with that of ease of entry into our airports.”

He said President Aquino is expected to sign an executive order requiring all commercial carriers to provide Philippines authorities—primarily the Bureau of Immigration—vital information and data on all their passengers not later than 15 minutes upon departure and/or 120 hours prior to arrival to the Philippines.

NAIA

Implementation of the APIS would also be carried out jointly with the Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Budget and Management, Bureau of Customs and Bureau of Quarantine.

Aside from being dubbed one of the worst airports in the world, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport has become a place of pandemonium, especially when flights arrive quickly in succession. Local and foreign travelers complain of long queues at the Immigration, holdups at the baggage carousel areas, insufficient baggage trolleys, and harassment at the customs area, especially during Christmas.

A workshop on the API/Passenger Name Record (API/PNR) was held Tuesday at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel to discuss the importance of API in providing seamless-entry formalities to travelers arriving in the country through improved passenger clearance mechanisms, while ensuring the Philippines’s national security.

Aside from the DOT’s Jimenez, Immigration Commissioner Siegfred Mison, Deputy Customs Commissioner Editha Tan and representatives from the United States Agency for International Development (USAid) and International Air Transport Association (IATA) participated the workshop.

In a separate interview, Iata Country Manager for the Philippines Roberto Lim, said it would not be “tedious” for carriers to use APIS in the Philippines as this has already been adopted in some 100 countries, mostly in Europe.

“All we have to do is to synchronize the system with that of the Philippines government. It will be up to the Philippines authorities to align their systems with the airline companies’ systems,” he explained.

The API is an electronic interactive data interchange system between airline companies and governments which include information of passengers such as their full names, gender, date of birth, nationality, country of residence, official travel document number, expiration of travel document, and issuing state or organization of the official travel document. The API may also include the flight details, airport of origin and other destinations of the airline passenger.

The PNR, meanwhile, is a record in the database of a computer-reservation system that contains the itinerary for a passenger, or a group of passengers traveling together.

The US Customs Service, in cooperation with the US Immigration and Naturalization Service and the US airline industry established the APIS as a voluntary program in 1988. The system was eventually codified, computerized, and adopted by the United Nations (UN), and modified by the Iata for use by all air carriers worldwide in 2005.

Jimenez added that APIS would not only speed up the entry of visitors into country but also enable the BI to identify potential threats to national security like terrorists, as well as smugglers, and traffickers of drugs and humans.

While he couldn’t say how much funds are needed to implement APIS, Immigration Associate Commissioner Abdullah Mangotaraassured that the cost would be “minimal.” He added that the APIS has been proposed since 2012, and will be funded through the DOJ.

“The USAid will be supporting us to see through APIS implementation,” explained DOT Assistant Secretary for Tourism Development Planning Rolando Canizal. “They will be providing technical assistance to bring in the necessary platform.” The APIS uses the Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Trade initially developed by the US Customs and governments of Australia and New Zealand in the early 1990s, but now administered by the UN.

For her part, Iata Regional Assistant Director Nathalie Herbelles said, once it implements the APIS, the Philippines would serve as a role model among other countries in Southeast Asia.

“Interactive API has its benefits such as giving live information about passengers checking in; potential prevention of inadmissible passengers and related penalties; and use for aviation security since the information is available before the flight takes off,” she said.

In Asia, only China, India, and Japan have implemented APIS.

Source: Ma. Stella F. Arnaldo