Disruption in CAAP's air management system due to electromechanical malfunction: DICT

Job Manahan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 24 2023 03:19 PM

People enter the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) headquarters in Pasay City on January 5, 2023. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA — The disruption in the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines' (CAAP) air management system earlier this year was caused by an "electromechanical malfunction," the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) said Tuesday. 

DICT Secretary Ivan John Uy said the incident was "so far from the cybersecurity aspect." 

"There doesn’t appear to be any cyber-related incident that triggered the incident. It was basically an electromechanical malfunction that triggered the whole incident," Uy said during a Palace briefing. 

"Nonetheless, we took the opportunity to conduct a thorough review and cybersecurity audit of the whole system since we’re already there in order to ensure that the system is adequately protected from any cybersecurity threats," he added. 

The DICT chief noted that shortly after the country's air management mess, the US and Canadian air transport management systems also failed. 

A "thorough assessment" is underway on CAAP's internal system so this could be prevented in the future, as well as address any issues on the cybersecurity aspect.

"We still have no clear report from both the US and Canada as to how or why or in what way their system failed except for their publicly announced that it is a system glitch or a software issue," he said. 

Upgrades will be needed in the software or hardware equipment for sure, he said, but it was so far unclear how much this would cost. 

Weeks ago, CAAP took "full accountability" for the New Year's Day crisis that paralyzed the entire country's air traffic.

CAAP had said that the nearly 10-hour shutdown of Philippine airspace on New Year’s Day was due to a problem in the CNS/ATM system’s electrical network with its uninterruptible power supply.

The travel mess forced hundreds of flights to be canceled, delayed, or diverted, affecting over 65,000 passengers.