It”s Clark, stupid

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     AND YOU only have one runway. Bobo.

    So went ANC 24/7’s Jojo Pasion Malig’s Facebook riposte on the story Gov’t planning to build Terminal 5 to decongest NAIA last Saturday.

    You only have to go through the first few paragraphs of the story to fully agree with Malig, and reaffirm your judgment on the idiocy of this government, to wit:

    The government is studying the construction of new passenger terminals at the busy Ninoy Aquino International Airport, which alongside a current plan to increase utilization of its runways, would allow the country’s main air gateway to combat congestion.

    Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines deputy director general Rodante Joya said Friday that Naia was already reaching its saturation point, with its current passenger load at about 33 million passengers per year.

    He said it was possible to expand the airport further to accommodate 50 million passengers per year.

    The four passenger terminals at Naia have a design capacity of 31 million passenger annually, The International Air Transport Association said in a previous report.

    During CAAP’s first Philippine Aviation Summit, which ran from Sept. 24-25, Joya unveiled a proposal for a fifth passenger terminal, which will be located near Merville subdivision.

    He said the government also needed to resolve legal roadblocks that would allow it to demolish the Philippine Village Hotel at the Naia complex and redevelop the area as an expansion of Naia Terminal 2.

    He said those two projects would help Naia reach a capacity of 50 million passengers a year.

    It cannot get any stupider than this, really.

    You may be able to house all those millions of passengers and more in five terminals but the congestion at NAIA will not be eased, much less solved.

    How would you move them fast and easy, even just slowly and difficultly, with only one intersecting runway?

    As much as in all those roads going to NAIA, the heavy traffic is in the air.

    Already, incoming planes are made to circle around – most dangerously – to give way to departing planes. Or departing planes have to wait in line at the tarmac and taxiway, to give way to arriving planes.

    Whichever, the losses – in aviation gas, in manhours – are monstrous.

    The news story goes:

    He added that they were already moving to decongest Naia’s runways, which are presently able to handle about 40 aircraft movements (landing and take-off events) an hour.

    Recently, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) tapped British firm NATS to increase runway utilization at Naia.

    The DOTC said the P66-million contract with NATS would increase hourly air traffic movement from the current 40 to 60, an increase of 50 percent. NATS would do this by “determining the optimal configuration for the airport’s intersecting runways,” the department said.

    Save that P66 million, the “optimal configuration”” for NAIA’s intersecting runways will not go beyond its constricted configuration.

    Unless government obliterates all those villages around the airport complex. Which it cannot.

    For the first six months, NATS will evaluate Naia’s current airspace, runway and terminal capacities; air traffic and surface operations; runway access points as well as air traffic control training.

    Give the NATS one whole year and even more, eternity perhaps, and it would still had to contend with that tiny piece of plot that is the NAIA.

    The department said the contract with NATS, overall, would optimize runway capacity by cutting aircraft occupancy times; develop air traffic controllers’ surveillance capabilities through technology and determining needed alterations to access points, and maximize available airspace by reducing restrictions and making procedural improvements to tighten intervals between aircraft movements.

    Optimize. Maximize. It just won’t add to the space at NAIA, space needed for a fully functional, safe and efficient international gateway.

    Space Clark has – over 2,400 hectares, two parallel 3.2-kilometer runways, wide taxiways. All the space for expansion to meet 21st century aviation demands and challenges.

    Where NAIA is rotting, Clark is there, all ripe for the picking.

    Still, government insists on beating the dead horse that is NAIA.

    Bobo. Sa dilang bobo.

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