PRESIDENT Marcos on Friday apologized for the glitch that shut down Philippine airspace on New Year’s Day and caused thousands of passengers to suffer.
Marcos made the apology as he inspected the Ninoy Aquino International Airport and was briefed on the problem that hit the air traffic management system.
“I’m sorry, of course we have to apologize to our kababayans, especially those who came from abroad dahil limitado ang kanilang bakasyon. Nawala yung dalawa o tatlong araw,” Marcos told reporters.
“Kami ay humihingi ng paumanhin at gagawin namin ang lahat para di na maulit ito,” he added.
But he also said the passengers were not left to their own devices as they also received support, including food and care packages.
More than 300 domestic and international flights were disrupted and some 56,000 travelers suffered during the shutdown of the Philippine airspace, which lasted for six and a half hours.
Back to normal
Marcos said operations at the airport had returned to normal and he had discussed with aviation officials the next moves to be taken to address the problems.
He said more redundancies would be included in the air traffic management system so that the failure of one component would not bring the entire system down.
Authorities earlier said a failure in the uninterruptible power supply had caused problems with the Communications, Navigation, and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. CAAP also said the system was outdated.
Marcos directed Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista to fast-track negotiations with equipment suppliers to upgrade the software and hardware used for air traffic management.
“And beyond that is to have a proper backup system so if the whole system fails, like it did on January 1, we have a complete system ready to go. ‘Yun lamang, that might take a little time, but that is something that we will try to fast-track as quickly as possible,” he said.
Kudos from the chief executive
The President also praised Cabinet secretaries, airport authorities, and all those involved in returning the system to normal.
“Considering how big the problem was, I think that the airport authorities, our Cabinet Secretaries, and all those who were involved in returning the system back had done a reasonably good job. Six hours is rather a short time considering how much needed to be done to get the system back up into working condition,” he said.
Banner photo credit: Office of the Press Secretary