The Department of Transportation through the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) urged airlines to prepare for the scheduled corrective maintenance of the Tagaytay radar on March, which is expected to result in flight reductions during that period.
Beginning 6:00AM of March 6 to 6:00AM of March 11, the Tagaytay radar will be shut down for the needed maintenance, leaving the country with only two operational radars --- Laoag and Mt. Majic in Cebu. For passenger safety, flights will be reduced from 40 to 32 flights per hour, while general aviation will be reduced by 50%.
CAAP stressed that flight reductions were necessary for better air traffic management, and assures the public that there is nothing to worry about, as the Ninoy Aquino International Airport also has a terminal radar that can guide airmen.
The maintenance date was the result of CAAP’s close coordination with airline companies, who also chose the dates considering their lean schedules. During the third coordination meeting held earlier this morning, CAAP instructed the airlines to announce flight adjustments within the week so as not to provide much hassle to travelers. Airlines are said to announce their flight adjustment schedules on Friday. Passengers who have booked flights on dates covered by maintenance activities are advised to coordinate with their respective airlines.
The Tagaytay corrective maintenance covers the overhauling of antenna and replacement of its drive motor and rotary joint. Maintenance of radars are supposed to take place at least every five years, but the Tagaytay radar has not undergone maintenance since its installation in 2009.
Ready for upgrade
Apart from scheduled maintenance, the Tagaytay radar is also being prepared to be integrated into the satellite-based Communications, Navigation, Surveillance / Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) system. This technology allows aircraft transponders to receive satellite signals and use transponder transmissions to determine precise locations of aircrafts.
The CNS/ATM project includes building an air traffic management center and 10 radar facilities that will cover the entire Philippine airspace. It is now 92% complete and will be turned over in June. According to CAAP, it will be fully operational by December.
The CNS/ATM, which aims for an uninterrupted and seamless air traffic flow within the country and other regions, is the same technology being used in Australia, Taiwan, and other European states.