THE Department of Transportation and Communication (DOTC) will discuss with President Benigno Aquino III on Monday the problems hounding the country's aviation industry.

DOTC Secretary Jose de Jesus said he had met the officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), and Diosdado Macapagal International Airport Authority (DMIAA).

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De Jesus said they agreed to come up with mechanisms in addressing the declining airport safety standards, and would present it to the President on Monday.

This came after series of flight cancellations and diversions due to poor navigational aids at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) worried passengers and industry stakeholders.

On Saturday, more than 30 flights bound for Manila were diverted to Diosdado Macapagal Airport in Pampanga; Mactan International Airport in Cebu; and in Iloilo due to the thick haze.

"We will discuss these things so that we can avoid the occurrence of similar situations. We know that the problem has something to do with the malfunctioning of navigational equipments," said De Jesus.

The secretary is referring to the main airport's Very High frequency Omnidirectional Radio Range (VOR) and Instrument Landing System (ILS), which bogged down last June 19 due to wear-and-tear and lack of maintenance.

"Actually a new ILS will be installed on Tuesday and we hope that we can use it before the end of July. As to the VOR, they (CAAP) are fixing it and we have German engineers who are working on it but it has yet to be tested. I just can't tell when it will be fully operational," he pointed out.

In a separate interview, Lito Casaul, technical assistant at the CAAP, said some airplanes need to be calibrated for the Required Area Navigation System (RNAV) or the Ground Positioning System (GPS).

"We ask the airlines to let their aircrafts use the RNAV, which can withstand bad weather and thick haze. But in times of extreme bad weather, we can't do anything about it," he said, adding that 20 flights that had been calibrated were able to land safely on Saturday.

Meanwhile, De Jesus maintained that the bidding of the estimated P120 million VOR equipment should undergo a clean process.

"If it qualifies under emergency purchase, we can fast-track that but even if we go through the normal process there is way of speeding that process as long as it is something that is transparent and fair so that all qualified bidders have a chance to qualify," he said. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)