Airlines improve on-time performance

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    Local airline operators have significantly improved their on-time performance (OTP) at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) in September.

    A report to the Department of Transportation (DOTr) showed the Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP) member-carriers — Cebu Pacific, Cebgo, Philippine Airlines, PAL Express and Air Asia Philippines — reported an average 83 percent OTP, up from 76 in both July and August. The last time OTP was at this level was in September 2018 at 85 percent.

    From July to September 2019, OTP reached 78 percent, higher than the OTPs of 65 percent and 62 percent, respectively, in the first and second quarters of 2019.

    This brings OTP in NAIA at 68 percent from January to September 2019.

    Lance Gokongwei, outgoing chairman of ACAP and president and chief executive officer of Cebu Pacific, cited the increased collaboration and cooperation from DOTr, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, the Civil Aeronautics Board and the Manila International Airport Authority which were integral to making most efficient use of aviation infrastructure.

    “The use of runway 31 for take-off has led to faster movement of aircraft, reduced aircraft taxi times resulting in less ramp congestion. We have also seen a reduction in departure clearance time delays because of better airspace management and the full use of the new air traffic and navigation system,” Gokongwei said.

    The carriers have implemented process improvements aimed at improving their respective OTPs. These include stricter adherence to gate closure and door closure times; deployment of stand-by flight deck crews at the airport to reduce response time to unexpected situations; and adoption of new technologies to better monitor operations in real time.

    Last June, the ACAP-member airlines pledged to work with the government to step up efforts to reduce flight delays, help decongest NAIA and improve the experience of air passengers. The aim is to address the growing demand for air travel in the Philippines, particularly in NAIA.

    As of end-September 2019, ACAP-member airlines alone mounted a total of 8,685 flights, up 5 percent year-on-year.

    Airlines’ OTPs are expected to further improve once the government issues the final rules penalizing domestic airlines for persistent flight delays and cancellations. The OTP is a matrix used to measure the operational efficiency or punctuality of an airline on time of arrival and departure.

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