Jan 1 air traffic fiasco an ‘eye opener’: Jinggoy Estrada seeks hi-tech aviation equipment in PH airports

The Department of Transportation (DOTr) should get additional funding to upgrade and maintain its air traffic control equipment, Senator Jinggoy Estrada said Friday (January 13).

Estrada pushed for a bigger budget for air traffic control in light of the January 1 shutdown of Philippine airspace, which affected 65,000 passengers and nearly 300 flights.

During the Senate Committee on Public Services’ hearing on the fiasco Thursday (January 12), senators learned that there were no surveillance cameras in the area where the Communication, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) system is operated by personnel of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Estrada said there might also be a lack of modern aviation equipment in other Philippine airports, not just the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

“This incident is an eye-opener on the need to have state-of-the-art equipment or at the very least, the need to immediately have modern techniques and technology that could help address the growing demand of air travelers and aircraft,” he said.

“While we, lawmakers, try to come up with urgent remedial legislation, I would defer to the experts on the matter of whether or not it was a case of a cyberattack. If so, Congress and the Executive should seriously consider the appropriation of funds for the much-needed upgrade,” Estrada added.