Air traffic system maintenance deal pushed

Photograph courtesy oF DoTr

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. wants a “permanent maintenance agreement” with the providers and suppliers of the country’s aviation safety system to prevent another New Year’s Day chaos at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

Transportation Secretary Jaime Bautista said the President believes routine maintenance could have prevented the power outage at the country’s biggest airport on 1 January, which affected some 60,000 local and foreign passengers.

“He (President Marcos) said, it would be better if we have a permanent maintenance agreement with the suppliers because we did not have a permanent maintenance agreement with them since the system warranty expired in 2020,” Bautista explained.

Bautista identified “Thales-Sumitomo” as the equipment supplier of the country’s communications, navigation, and surveillance, air traffic management system.

“One of his (Marcos) recommendations is to still enter into an agreement with the supplier and separate the issue of claims, which we have already communicated with the supplier even before,” the DoTr chief added.

In a Senate hearing this month, Thales Corp. expressed reluctance to enter into a new service contract with the Philippine government, particularly the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, due to pending “existing claims” allegedly amounting to P987 million.

Bautista confirmed that the Philippine government is indeed “threshing out” certain “financial issues” with the equipment supplier. He did not elaborate, however.

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