SENATE majority leader Joel Villanueva and Senator Jinggoy Estrada filed on Tuesday, January 3, 2023, separate resolutions seeking investigation on the technical glitch at the Air Traffic Management System (ATMS) of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) on New Year’s Day.

The technical glitch disrupted flights, affecting thousands of passengers.

In his resolution, Villanueva said failure to address airspace traffic management will impact the facilitation of domestic trade and business transactions, and hinder the continuous promotion of tourism and employment especially of overseas workers, among others.

“The Philippines’ main air gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA), has been regarded as the worst international airport for three years from 2011 to 2013, fourth worst in the world in 2014, and fifth worst in the world in 2016, which affect both the airport and the country’s reputation to travelers,” said Villanueva.

“The preceding points, among others, highlight the impact of the quality of air traffic services to the economy as well as to various stakeholders, thus it is imperative to review and study existing policies and implement actions and measures that will improve the provision of such services to the public,” he added.

Meanwhile, Estrada said the incident worsened the already unpleasant image of the country’s main gateway and may become yet another stumbling block for the recovery and revitalization of the tourism industry, which is among the most severely affected sectors during the onslaught of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic.

He said the incident necessitates remedial legislation and urgent action from the authorities to save it from becoming a national disgrace.

Estrada said it further highlights the need for the installation of more sophisticated technologies, the setting up of effective backup mechanisms, and the hiring of competent manpower and experts to man them to ensure uninterrupted airport operations.

“We also have to be on guard against cybersecurity attacks, sabotage, disasters, and other threats,” he said.

“If we really want to transform from being one of the world’s best, we have to ensure the highest quality of service for all its users. It’s high time that we take a look at its current state,” he added.

Earlier, several senators also expressed dismay and concern over the incident, which according to airport authorities stemmed from the power outage that resulted in loss of communication, radio, radar, and internet at the ATMC.

The ATMC serves as the facility for controlling and overseeing all inbound and outbound flights and overflights within the Philippine airspace. (SunStar Philippines)