MANILA — The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) on Thursday said it was conducting several upgrades to the country's Air Traffic Management Center (ATMC), days after it temporarily shut down the Philippine airspace for replacement and repairs.
On Wednesday, CAAP replaced its critical uninterruptible power supply (UPS) units during a shutdown of the country's airspace from 2 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The replacements, aimed to prevent a repeat of the New Year's Day aviation meltdown that affected some 65,000 passengers last January, cost P13 million.
Following the replacements, CAAP said it would upgrade other software and hardware components of the ATMC before the year ends.
A maintenance program for the system was also in the pipeline.
“Constantly dapat ina-upgrade iyan (ATMC) as well as its maintenance program. The maintenance program is very important. That is why we are discussing it with the providers," CAAP Deputy Director for Operations Capt. Edgardo Diaz said.
The aviation regulator also said it was planning and exploring ways to construct an independent ATMC, as well as hiring a third-party contractor to provide oversight.
The backup facility is planned to be built outside Metro Manila.
“It will be the ultimate fallback system or an independent backup system. If you have ultimate fallback at kung magkaroon ng glitch whatsoever sa primary system mo, you can easily switch and utilize your fallback.” Diaz said.
In January, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) estimated that a new ATMC could go as high as P13 billion, the price in 2018 when the Duterte administration opened the facility in Pasay City.
With the ATMC, the country has 13 radars covering the entire Philippine airspace.