British firm tapped to optimize NAIA runway system

The government is acquiring the services of British firm NATS to aid in easing congestion and increasing efficiency in Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA). Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said the partnership with NATS is focused on optimization of runway capacities, developing air traffic controllers’ capabilities, and maximization of available airspace.

British firm NATS is renowned worldwide for its air traffic management expertise. It provides air traffic navigation services to the world’s busiest single- and dual-runway airports: London Gatwick handles 53 air traffic movements (ATMs) per hour and over 250,000 flights per year; and London Heathrow handles 90 ATMs per hour and over 470,000 flights per year.

“We are excited to work with one of the world’s best firms in the industry towards optimizing NAIA’s runway capacity. With NATS – which has worked on the Dubai, Singapore, and Heathrow Airports–we can expect safer, more efficient operations, and much less flight delays and cancellations,” said DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya.

DOTC said the P66-Million NAIA Runway Optimization project was awarded to the joint venture between NATS Services Limited and Schema Konsult, Inc. Over the contract’s 12-month span, the group will aim to increase hourly ATMs from 40 to 60, by determining the optimal configuration for the airport’s intersecting runways.

In the first 6 months, NATS will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the following: the airport’s current airspace, runway, and terminal capacities; air traffic and surface operations; runway access points; and Air Traffic Controllers’ (ATC) training for the first six (6) months.

“The Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) will then implement the recommended improvement measures over the ensuing 6 months,” DOTC said.