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House sets aside P2.8 billion for perennially troubled Naia

House sets aside P2.8 billion for perennially troubled Naia

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By Jeannette I. Andrade 

The country’s main gateway, Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia), will receive fresh funding of P2.8 billion next year, a huge chunk of which will be used to acquire a new air traffic control system, according to a ranking member of the House appropriations committee.

At least nine other airports across the country will also receive infrastructure construction and development funding in the proposed P5.77-trillion 2024 national budget, said Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr., vice chair of the House panel which is in charge of deliberations on the proposed expenditure program.

According to the lawmaker, the P2.8 billion would also be used to upgrade Naia’s infrastructure, including P1.2 billion for the procurement of a new Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance-Air Traffic Management (CNS-ATM) system.

Campos said the P1.2 billion for the new CNS-ATM system was among the items in the Department of Transportation’s (DOTr) 2024 aviation infrastructure budget.

“We are counting on the new CNS-ATM system to optimize airspace and airport efficiency, reduce flight delays, and improve travel experience,” he said, adding that “our hopes are high that the new system, once installed and fully functional, could potentially increase airport capacity to accommodate more flights in the years ahead.”

Jan. 1 breakdown

He cited the New Year’s Day breakdown of Naia’s CNS-ATM system which disrupted over 300 international and domestic flights in and out of Manila and left thousands of travelers stranded.

Power outages also occurred on May 1 and June 9, affecting a number of flights.

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Campos noted that the DoTr has a total allocation of P6.1 billion in the 2024 national expenditure program earmarked for the construction of airports and navigational facilities.

Apart from Naia, he said, other airports anticipated to receive infrastructure development funding in 2024 include:

  • the Kalibo international airport: P581 million
  • Laoag international airport: P500 million
  • Tacloban airport: P500 million
  • the new Dumaguete airport: P500 million
  • Busuanga airport: P405 million
  • the new Zamboanga international airport: P300 million
  • the new Manila international airport or Bulacan international airport: P200 million
  • Bukidnon airport: P120 million
  • the new Bohol airport:P97 million

“We are completely in favor of the increased government spending to build up our airports ahead of the projected full recovery of global air travel by 2025,” Campos said.

PHOTO: Departing passengers arrive at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City on Wednesday, July 6, 2022. A lawmaker has filed a bill proposing to rename the international airport to Ferdinand E Marcos International Airport. (File photo by GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE / Philippine Daily Inquirer)