MANILA – Airport and aviation authorities on Monday renewed their call to passengers with flights on Jan. 15 and 19 to contact their airline or travel agents regarding flight restrictions imposed as a result of the Papal visit.
“As we have earlier announced, there will be no flights arriving in all NAIA Terminals from 2pm-7pm on January 15 and 6am-10:30 am on January 19, 2015,” said MIAA General Manager Jose Angel Honrado. Pope Francis is flying in on Jan. 15 for a pastoral and state visit; and flying out on Jan. 19.
Aviation and airport authorities reached a consensus with the airlines in a series of consultative meetings following the announcement of the National Organizing Committee that there will be road closures on major thoroughfares around the NAIA Complex on the arrival and departure days of the Pope.
“We were given a final briefing yesterday morning (Jan.7) on the preparations based on the last two consultation meetings and basically all the concern of the airlines is to mitigate all the problems, challenges that we are about to face and to minimize the inconvenience of our clients,” said Florante Isidro, Qantas station manager and president of the Airline Operators Council (AOC) based at NAIA.
The general direction really is to manage the time during the closure of both the roads and the airspace, and to minimize the impact on the travel schedules and the losses on the part of the airlines, Isidro added.
As a result of the consultative meetings, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) issued the Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) announcing suspension of arriving flights on said hours and days.
Departure flights, however, will proceed subject to the availability of turnaround aircraft.
CAAP representative (ret.) Gen. Rodante Joya told newsmen during the consultative meeting at the MIAA boardroom that his office will implement and stick to the regular 40 flights-per-hour schedule for both arrivals and departures at NAIA.
He debunked claims of certain sectors that the flight delays and cancellations are due to air traffic congestion at NAIA, supporting the earlier statement of General Manager Honrado that the failure of some airlines to meet their slot schedules on time is behind this problem.
CAAP issued the NOTAM earllier to guide airline operators in revising their flight schedules or adopting other options that passengers with bookings on these days may take. “The prerogative to cancel, advance, delay or divert flights rests on the airline companies. Whatever it is, MIAA and other government agencies in NAIA will support them,” added Honrado.
Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) executive director Carmelo Arcilla said that airlines are cleared of any liability, under the Passengers Bill of Rights, pertaining to the consequential effect of the suspension of flight arrivals on those dates. He said that an airline had in advance announced flights delays and cancellations due to the event.
MIAA met on Wednesday with the airlines and other government agencies to disseminate information to be given to passengers who will be affected by the cancellations of flights and road closure.
Since departure flights will be allowed proceed on the 15th and the 19th, the advisory reminds passengers with departing flights on these dates to be at the airport much earlier than the usual 3 hours’ advice so they won’t miss their flights.
Passengers are advised to go to the airport long before the roads within the NAIA complex start to close at 3pm on January 15; and at 7am on January 19. On these days, the NAIA Complex will only be accessible via South Superhighway through Bicutan, Alabang and Sucat Roads.
Terminals 3, 4 passengers’ drop-off point at Terminal 1
As a result of the road closures, NAIA Terminal 3 and 4 will be isolated since the entire stretch beginning from Sales Avenue fronting Terminal 3, all the way to the Domestic Road fronting Terminal 4, will be closed and will not be accessible at all to vehicular traffic.
MIAA will set up a drop-off point cum staging area, at the NAIA Terminal 1 Parking B, for passengers of Terminal 3 and 4 with departing flights on these days.
They shall be initially gathered there and initial security procedures will be in place to secure both passengers and baggage. From Parking B, the MIAA shuttle buses will bring the passengers to Terminals 3 and 4 through the airside.
The MIAA also encourages a DROP and GO system for those who will bring their passengers to NAIA.
The MIAA shall also close NAIA Terminal 3 arrival and departure lobbies to non-passengers during the entire day on January 15 and from 12 midnight to 12 noon on January 19, 2015, Honrado said.