Officials said this is part of government efforts to decongest the country’s main international gateway and promote the efficient utilization of airport slots
Airlines misusing NAIA slots face stiffer sanctions
Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) - June 21, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Airlines operating at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) that have been misusing their airport slots will face stiffer sanctions.

In the joint memorandum circular (JMC) signed by Manila International Airport Authority general manager Ed Monreal, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines director general Jim Sydiongco, Civil Aeronautics Board executive director Carmelo Arcilla and Department of Transportation (DOTr) undersecretary for aviation Manuel Antonio Tamayo, the sanctions may include cancellation of their slot allocation.

Officials said this is part of government efforts to decongest the country’s main international gateway and promote the efficient utilization of airport slots.

The DOTr said stricter sanctions will be imposed to provide teeth in the implementation of efficient slot utilization.

The JMC states that continued slot misuse may result in a lower priority for future slot requests and possible imposition of sanctions under local regulations and national law, which may include immediate recall of slot approval.

The definition of slot misuse under the JMC has been expanded to cover the holding of slots that the airline does not intend to operate, as well as the holding of slots for an operation other than planned for the purpose of denying capacity to another aircraft operator.

Also constituting slot misuse are the request of new slots that the airline does not intend to operate and the requisition of slots for an operation other than indicated with the intention of gaining improved priority.

The JMC said an airline that operates services without the corresponding timeslots on a regular basis will not be entitled to historical precedence for either the actual times they operated or for the allocated times.

It added an airline that continues to misuse or inefficiently use timeslots may be relegated to a lower priority in future slot allocations.

If an airline, despite being sanctioned, continues to misuse or inefficiently use timeslots, a committee is given the authority to recall slot approval and even suspend or cancel slot allocations of the erring airline.

Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said the JMC will prompt airlines to take responsibility.

“Landing at an airport is a privilege. To intentionally disregard the value of these airport slots is unethical and an aggravation to the current state of congestion at NAIA. We have to recognize the domino effects of these slot misuses, which ultimately result in the massive inconvenience to our air passengers,” Tugade said.

The DOTr said a substantial increase in the number of passengers, flights and airport slots per hour at the NAIA has been recorded in recent years, resulting in a compounded state of congestion.

Before 2016, the DOTr said NAIA passenger traffic stood at 36.5 million, then soared to 45 million by 2018.

The number of flights during the same period also grew by over 14,000  or 5.75 percent, while airport slots per hour rose by 22.2 percent from 36 to 44.

The DOTr said the new JMC is an expansion of the scope of efficient use of slots under JMC 2016-01 signed by the same agencies in July 2016 to ease airline congestion at the four terminals of NAIA.

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines expressed its support for the JMC, while Cebu Pacific and AirAsia have yet to issue their respective comments.

“Rest assured there is constant dialogue between PAL and aviation authorities. PAL has already committed full cooperation on initiatives that will help improve operational efficiency in the country’s airport hubs,” PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna said. – With Rudy Santos

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