• DMCI ‘contributes’ to flight diversions


    ANOTHER project of DMCI Homes, the company behind the controversial Torre de Manila project, is reportedly contributing to flight diversions at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) for being too near the flight path.

    This was disclosed by Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito on Wednesday during a hearing by the Senate finance committee on the proposed budget of the Department of Transportation (DOTr), citing the Cypress Towers of DMCI located near NAIA is adding to the air traffic woes at the airport.

    Ejercito explained that while the frequent flight diversions at NAIA is caused by the defective Instrument Landing System (ILS) in the airport’s runway, the presence of the 20-story Cypress Towers has exacerbated the problems.

    The ILS is a ground-based system that provides precision guidance to aircraft approaching and landing on a runway.

    The one at runway 24 of NAIA has been idle for the past one year and a half.

    Capt. Manuel Antonio Tamayo, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) officer-in-charge, in an interview explained that there are three types of approaches used in aircraft landing–visual where pilots use their eyes, non-precision and precision one example of which is the ILS.

    He clarified that the absence of ILS poses no safety risks to airplanes although the system makes the approach more efficient especially during bad weather.

    Since the ILS at runway 24 is not functioning, Ejeercito said, flights are being diverted to Clark International Airport during heavy rains at the NAIA.

    Because of the defective ILS and the nearby DMCI condominium, he noted, adjustments on the minimum decision altitude (MDA) were made to make sure that aircraft have enough allowance from the building during landing.

    MDA is an aviation term used when deciding when to push through or abort a plane’s landing.

    Ejercito explained that when the ILS was still in operation, the MDA was set to 300 feet, but with the absence of the system and the presence a 2-story condominium near the flight path, the MDA was raised to 900 feet.

    “Whenever our pilots have a hard time estimating their landing, it usually results in flight diversions to Clark. We are wasting fuel, time and other resources expended for the flight, plus the passengers’ inconvenience,” the senator pointed out.

    Ejerctio questioned CAAP why it is taking itso long to fix the ILS system and why it allowed a high-rise condominium to be constructed near a flight path.

    Tamayo, meanwhile, assured senators that the ILS will be operational before the end of the year.

    According to him, they are expecting the delivery of ILS spare parts by the middle of October and will need less than two weeks to install the parts and conduct flight checks.

    The DMCI condominium, Tamayo said, is not anymore an issue because of the adjustment made on the MDA.

    He, however, admitted that adjustment is not necessary if there is no structure putting flights at risk.

    When asked if it is right to have a high-rise building near a flight path, Tamayo said it would be better if the condominium was not there. JEFFERSON ANTIPORDA


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