TRANSPORTATION Secretary Jaime Bautista clarified on Tuesday, January 24, 2023 that only the operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will be privatized and not the airports assets which will remain under government control.

In a press briefing in Malacañang, Bautista said the government is also eyeing for a private company to manage the operations of NAIA through a concession agreement, just like in Mactan-Cebu International Airport and Clark International Airport in Pampanga.

Airport officials have been in hot water over the breakdown of the air traffic system on the first day of the year which affected over 250 flights and at least 65,000 passengers to and from Manila.

In the same press conference, Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy said an "electromechanical malfunction" had triggered the air traffic system glitch, noting that “there hasn't appeared to be any cyber-related incident” that may have caused the incident.

Bautista said President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has issued a directive to fast-track negotiations between the DOTr and Sumitomo-Thales for the maintenance of NAIA’s air traffic management system.

In a meeting on Tuesday morning, Bautista said Marcos expressed strong support to their recommendation to implement future requirements necessary for the upgrade or improvement of the Communications, Navigation and Surveillance/Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) system of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, which includes hardware and software maintenance, hardware replacement, ultimate fallback system for system redundancy and the need for independent CNS/ATM in a separate location.

“We’re just trying to settle this and hopefully by the end of this month we’d have a clear indication on how we will be able to settle the issue,” Bautista said.

“We met with Sumitomo and Thales a few weeks ago and we suggested that we negotiate for a permanent maintenance agreement pending the settlement of the issues. We need to thresh out... We need to settle financial issues with them. They have claims against the government and we (government) also have claims against them,” he added. (SunStar Philippines)