• P9.8-B aviation system ‘operational’ this year

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    The Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) facility will be fully operational on or before December this year, the country’s aviation regulator said on Tuesday.

    “It is already functional and will be fully operational toward the end of this year,” Eric Apolonio, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) spokesman and media communication office chief, said, adding that the P9.8-billion state-of-the-art facility will be turned over to the agency by the contractor next month.

    The CNS/ATM technology, which includes a computer-based flight data processing system, will enable aircraft operators to meet their planned times of departure and arrival and adhere to their preferred flight profiles with minimum constraints and without compromising agreed levels of safety.

    Also, the CNS/ATM system is a compilation of digital technologies developed and used to provide air traffic control services over a large or small geographical area including large sections of oceanic airspace.

    The CAAP said with this technology, which started worldwide in 2000, billing for overflights would be done automatically by computers so that there would no longer be lapses or flights that do not get properly billed.

    The system development project was first conceptualized in accordance with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Global air Navigation Plan.
    The utilization of this system covers the Philippines airspace.

    The project, which began during the administration of then-President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo under the aegis of the ICAO, was supposed to be finished in 2005, then moved to 2007 and 2010 until it was finally abandoned for lack of funds.

    Since then, neighboring countries have adopted the CNS/ATM but the Philippines remains one of the few countries that lack this high-tech, satellite-based air traffic and communications system.

    The Commission on Audit in 2013 cleared the resumption of the aviation surveillance project to modernize the CAAP’s system.

    Jim Sydiongco, CAAP deputy director general, said “CAAP, in consonance with ICAO standards, continues to drive our Area Centers to maintain a safe and secure air transport industry in the same manner that aircraft are guided by illumination coming from approach and landing lights to safely land at their designated runway.”

    Early this month, the CAAP got the approval of ICAO team that conducted an assessment to determine if the agency complies with international safety standards.

    The assessment, dubbed as ICAO Coordinated Validation Mission, was conducted from May 30 to June 8.

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