Thursday, October 18, 2012


(From left: Lt. Gen. William K. Hotchkiss, CAAP Director General with   
Capt. John Andrews, Deputy General for Operations, CAAP)

 Bird strike at Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) does not only poses an imminent danger to the safety of airlines and its passengers , but also a threat to our country’s economy as well. We may never earn an upgrade of our aviation safety classification from the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to boost our tourism industry and increase commercial activities in the metropolis and parts of central Luzon, because of such issue, other than the modernization of our airports.
Lately, there was tremendous increase of bird strikes at NAIA.  There were  49  bird strike recorded by CAAP from January to September, compared to 30 bird strikes in 2011 and 25 in 2010, which makes the danger more imminent.  Thus, NAIA was prompted to issue a warning to the pilots of the danger to land and take off at NAIA. 

It was reported that a Philippine Airlines (PAL) Flight PR 124 to Manila was canceled last September after birds got sucked into the plane’s engine in order to ensure the safety of passengers and crew. Cebu Pacific's Cotabato-Manila flight was delayed for more than four hours also in the same month.  Earlier in July, it was reported that  PAL flight PR 105 that just arrived in Manila from Guam  also suffered from the same incident and the aircraft’s entire set of fan blades had to be replaced due to irreparable damage. It was reported by TV 5 News that from January to July this year, 39 bird strikes have been reported at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), 50 percent more than the same period last year, data from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) indicated.  These incidents involve aircraft of Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific, Zest Air, Cathay Pacific, Jet Star Asia, Air Philippines Express, and Qatar Airways.
The population of migratory birds nesting at the Las-Piñas-Paranaque Critical Habitat and Eco Tourism area located about 15 kilometer away from NAIA pursuant to Executive Order No. 1412 issued by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, allegedly surged more than double its size through the years.  Consequently, migratory birds flock to NAIA as its resting place early in the morning and from 3:00 to 4:00 in the afternoon, everyday.  Likewise, it seems that there is no immediate and viable remedy at hand or an alternative solution presented by interests group to control its population.  Meanwhile, the damage to airplanes costs millions already, while NAIA allegedly needs a budget  more than P 45-Million yearly additional budget just to control migratory birds from colliding with the airplanes that lands and takes off at NAIA with no assurance that an incident shall not happen.   

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