Press Release
September 19, 2015

Inform public of APEC flight disruptions in advance--Recto

When Pope Francis flew into town, we closed the airport for hours. When His Holiness left, we shut down the airspace above NAIA for almost half a day.

And that was for one head of state only.

How much more if 21 heads of state would descend on our congested, single-runway airport at the same time?

Some will be arriving with an air fleet in tow, like Obama with his decoy Air Force One. Others with escorts.

Surely there will be commercial flight disruptions, although this has not been formally announced yet. The information about possible flight delays and no-fly-zones is being embargoed for security reasons.

Despite this limitation, what government can do immediately is to advise the public about domestic and international flight disruptions on Nov 18 to 19, when the APEC leaders are in town.

The details can come later but what is important is that the advisory is made public this early for the sake of air travellers so that they can feel free to make adjustments to their itinerary.

We all know that travel is complicated - from flight bookings to airport transfers to hotel reservations - that disrupting one will trigger a chain of disruptions.

For example, OFWs need to report to work on a given date or our seafarers must catch the connection to where their ships are berthed. A few hours delay will wreak havoc on their travel timetable.

Halimbawa, sa mga ikakasal, ang pagdating ng bisita ay nakabatay sa mga flights na matagal nang naka-book. May mga bakasyon at vacation leaves na isang taon nang naikasa.

Makakaintindi naman sila sa mga pagbabago sa flights schedule basta masabihan lang ng maaga. Sana nga ang abiso sa anumang pagbabago ay maipaabot sa lalong madaling panahon.

Every November, NAIA handles about 85,000 arriving and departing passengers daily. If the window of disruption stretches to just 72 hours, close to a quarter-million travellers will be affected.

An airmageddon can be avoided and handled well. And even muster the support of the public so long as they are not caught unaware.

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