• General aviation restricted during peak hours

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    AVIATION authorities on Sunday began restrictions to general aviation operations and aerial works during peak hours, to ease congestion at the country’s main gateway.

    Citing the need for safety and efficiency in air traffic services at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Manila International Airport Authority and the Civil Aeronautics Board issued joint guidelines on July 28 to impose the restrictions.

    General aviation refers to the operation of civil aircraft for non-commercial air transport operation, and involves cargo, air charter, aviation training, aircraft maintenance and corporate flight operations.

    In aerial work, an aircraft is used for specialized services such as agriculture, construction, photography, surveying, observation and patrol, search and rescue, and aerial advertisement.

    The guidelines limit use of runway infrastructure at NAIA from 12:00 noon to 7:00pm, except helicopter operations, medical evacuations and emergencies.

    Moreover, general aviation and aerial work will be limited to two takeoffs and landings per hour from 6:00 a.m. to 12 noon.

    The number of aircraft movements that may safely be operated per hour at the NAIA runway is currently set at forty slots.

    Aviation authorities said sanctions would be imposed on violators, with corresponding penalties under Republic Act 9497, Republic Act 776 and Executive Order No. 778 Series of 1982, as amended.

    In 2013, the CAAP limited the flights of private airplanes and banned small planes carrying marine products at the NAIA.

    The Department of Transportation earlier announced a plan to transfer private jets to other airports, namely Sangley Point in Cavite, Clark Air Base in Pampanga and Fernando Air Base in Lipa, Batangas to help decongest NAIA, once dubbed the world’s worst airport.

    This will reduce air traffic congestion at NAIA by 18 percent, the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said.

    The trasfer was discussed during the recent interagency Investment Coordination Committee (ICC)-Infrastructure Committee meeting, said Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia.

    Pernia, who is the NEDA director general, said the body had yet to decide which airport to develop.

    Asked for a timeframe, Pernia said the government wanted to finish the transfer of general aviation from Metro Manila within the year.

    Upon completion, all terminals of NAIA will only be used for commercial flights, he added.

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