MANILA, PHILIPPINES – The Senate will call in air and airport officials and executives to explain the paralysis of operations at Ninoy Aquino International Airport after last Thursday's accident involving a Chinese airliner that slipped off the runway .
Sen. Grace Poe, chairman of the Senate Commission for Public Services, said her panel will investigate the operational procedures of airport personnel in response to such emergencies.
Poe asked why it took about 36 hours to remove the Xiamen Air Boeing 737-800 from the runway.
She noted that the accident paralyzed airport operations, affecting tens of thousands of passengers from delayed and canceled flights.
"The public deserves an acceptable explanation, which is important because NAIA remains the main gateway for foreign tourists in the country, and also notes that NAIA works with overcapacity and was built to carry around 30 million passengers. currently about 42 million passengers, "said Poe.
She said that this was not the first time that a passenger plane had crashed or slipped off the runway, and would not be the last one
Poe said the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) could not respond quickly enough to hundreds of flights were canceled or diverted, leaving tens of thousands of passengers behind at NAIA and other airports in the country.
Among those invited to the probe are transport secretary Arthur Tugade, MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal, airline executives and a few involved passengers.
"We will give the authorities of the airport time to have a full report on the consequences of the closure of the runway during and after the incident," said Poe.
Other senators also want to know why airlines do not align well with the MIAA and their own passengers on the actions they have taken the Chinese plane got stuck and blocked the runway.
They reported that the flight information display had also been closed so that the airline's personnel were walking around with pieces of paper with the flight data to board, while passengers had to wait without food or water.
The hearing will also Senate Resolution 782 filed by Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian on the status of Metro Manila airports and any government plans to modernize them to meet the growing demand
New airport needed  Sen . Joseph Victor Ejercito said the last Thursday's accident pointed to the need for another international gateway to relieve NAIA.
"The accident at NAIA is already a signal for the construction of a new airport – the single international runway will not really work anymore and the government must decide where to build it," Ejercito said in his Twitter account.
He suggested that the fastest solution for Manila airport problems is to have a double airport system between Clark and NAIA, as well as Haneda and Narita airports in Tokyo, Japan.
Catanduanes Rep. Cesar Sarmiento agreed that another airport was needed to relieve NAIA.
Sarmiento, chairman of the transport committee of the House of Representatives, said the accident at NAIA meant the need to build a new airport near Metro Manila, preferably in the province of Bulacan.
Sarmiento emphasized that this is in line with the government's proposals and plans to increase the capacity of the three NAIA airports in Pasay City.
"The most practical idea here is to move out and create another airport so that it would bring convenience and comfort, and avoid the process traffic in Metro Manila," Sarmiento said about dzBB.
He took the case of advan to economies like Japan and South Korea, whose airports are at least an hour away from the capital of the country, which is a way to relieve traffic. This is also the case in Hong Kong and Malaysia and many others.
Sarmiento said the use of the nearby Clark International Airport, which is 66 kilometers away from Metro Manila, is ideal because it is considered a "complementary" airport for congested NAIA.
"Clark airport is already there and it is very vast, and we can develop it and eventually meet the increasing capacity of NAIA, and all we have to do is offer a twin airport that is NAIA can supplement, "he said.
He also proposed to divide passengers in two – those of north and south Luzon.
Passengers from Bulacan all the way to the north of Luzon can use what they call the "northern basin" operated by the Clark International Airport, while those from the south are served by the "southern basin".
Southern river basin will cover those passengers from Quezon City in Metro Manila, to the south of Tagalog and all the way to the south of Luzon or the Bicol region, which the NAIA can use in Pasay City.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan regretted that nobody seemed to be in charge at the time when the stranded jet was still on the road to block flights.
Ejercito, stranded at Davao City Airport after the NAIA accident, named civil aviation authority or philippines (CAAP) personnel, including air traffic controllers, for their dedication.
However, he criticized some of the employees at the NAIA Skylogistics airport services who were assigned to handle check-in desks and boarding facilities to go on foot and claim that their services had ended despite the chaotic situation.
He warned of the economic costs of the incident to let foreign Filipino workers lose their jobs and investors who were disabled.
Ejercito said the "paralysis by analysis" of the previous government that the modernization of NAIA and the construction of a new international gateway.
The airliner, Xiamen Air flight MF8667, slipped off the track late Thursday while tryin g to land during a heavy downpour.
Officials said NAIA Terminal 1 was most affected by the accident.
The airport terminal was closed for all air traffic after the accident and reopened on Saturday after almost 36 hours.  Senior disaster controllers Algier Ramo and Manny Hortaleza said that hours after the runway was cleared of obstruction and debris, passengers and even aircraft from foreign airlines clambered on the parking lot of NAIA Terminal 1 and 2.
Ramo and Hortaleza and other disaster controllers assigned to NAIA 1 said they had trouble arranging or giving instructions to foreign pilots about where to park or to which bay they had to go.
Aircraft were on stand-by in the remote car park while others were waiting on the taxiway for instruction from controllers.
Hortaleza said that most of the disaster controllers assigned to that team last Saturday were working overtime to bring order into chaos.
MIAA General Manager Ed Monrea I said they are joining the CAAP to investigate the incident.
"We have to charge all costs and the discussion is likely to take place next week," said Monreal. Meanwhile, the spokespersons of Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific welcomed the efforts of the aviation authorities to immediately reopen the runway involved.
"The reopening of the main road paved the way for the recovery to hub of diversion flights and the departure flights from Manila with adjusted timing," said PAL spokesman Cielo Villaluna.
She said that PAL had a total of 68 canceled flights during the runway closure, with 18,810 passengers, while 21 flights were diverted with more than 5,483 passengers.
Charo Logarta of Cebu Pacific said they are currently assisting more than 20,000 passengers affected by the cancellation and diversion, with the exception of the passengers of delayed flights.
"We do our best to accommodate passengers at the earliest possible time we want to thank all passengers for their constant patience and understanding," Villaluna added. – With Delon Porcalla, Rudy Santos