Gov’t advises airlines to rework May 17 schedules for shutdown

THE Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said the airspace shutdown for equipment maintenance scheduled for the morning of Wednesday, May 3, will not affect flights, but added that airlines have been advised to rework their schedules around a longer shutdown scheduled for May 17.

“The airlines are ready… they received the information from us,” CAAP Spokesperson Eric B. Apolonio said by phone, referring to the disruptions on both dates.

“There will be no flights affected on May 3. For May 17, immediately we informed them two weeks ahead so that the airline stakeholders and the airport authorities will be able to adjust their schedules, especially flights, because we really need to set up between 12 midnight to 6 a.m.,” he added.

In an advisory, the CAAP said that it will be conducting corrective maintenance activities at the Philippine Air Traffic Management Center on May 3 from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. and on May 17 from 12 midnight to 6 a.m.

Maintenance is scheduled for the air traffic system’s automatic voltage regulators, while the uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems are due for replacement, and the air traffic management system A/B power supply needs upgrading.

When asked whether the May 17 shutdown could be cut short if the maintenance activity takes less time than expected, he said: “Yes definitely because unang-una ’yung hanggang 6 a.m. may allowance just to be sure (the 6 a.m. end-time incorporates an allowance period). Pero actually makakaya namang mas maaga kaya lang mas mainam na ’yung fixed sa 6 a.m. para in case may issues pa kaming kailangan i-correct, hindi na kami maga-adjust (An earlier finish is possible, but the 6 a.m. projected finish was declared in the event some unexpected issues arise that need to be corrected).”

If maintenance concludes before 6 a.m., “we will immediately lift the notice to airmen so that flights can continue earlier,” he added.

Mr. Apolonio said that the New Year’s glitch which shut down Philippine airspace pointed the need to maintain the UPS.

“We need to replace parts. We have purchased them through emergency (procurement) to correct the problem and to create redundancy,” he said.

The CAAP said it will be installing two additional UPS units that are expected to make a repeat of the Jan. 1 disruptions less likely. — Justine D. Tabile