CebuPac pilots in NAIA incident grounded

By Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 14 2013 01:59 PM | Updated as of Jun 14 2013 09:59 PM

MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - Malacañang said that the pilots of a Cebu Pacific plane that skidded and took out runway lights at the NAIA have been grounded. 

Quoting Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) Director General William Hotchkiss, Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said that an investigation into the incident will also be conducted. 

“The pilots are automatically grounded subject to the medical exam and the incident will be submitted to… [the] Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board and to the Flights Standards Inspectorate Service. Additionally, the aircraft itself will be subject to a thorough maintenance inspection. So we should wait for the results of that,” Valte said. 

Less than 2 weeks after a Cebu Pacific plane drove off the runway at the Davao Internationa Airport and disrupted airport operations for several days, a Cebu Pacific Airbus A320 aircraft took out several runway lights as it landed at the NAIA Terminal 3 Runway 06 on Thursday. 

The NAIA Safety Division said Cebu Pacific flight 5J 448 safely landed from Iloilo but skidded as it slowed down due to heavy rains.

No one among the flight's 95 passengers was hurt, and the plane was able to safely proceed to NAIA Terminal 3.

Joseph Agustin, head of airport safety department, said five runway edge lights were damaged as a result of the faulty landing.

Air traffic controllers at the Manila Control Tower immediately informed the airport safety department to dispatch a clearing crew to check for "foreign objects debris" (FOD ) brought about by the incident.

Airport safety patrol officers were able to recover several debris and declared the runway free from any obstruction.

Octavio Lina, NAIA Terminal 3 manager, criticized Cebu Pacific operations people for failing to immediately inform airport authorities about the incident.

Lina said they will seek an explanation from Cebu Pacific management regarding the incident.

He said the affected runway is still safe to use, and Cebu Pacific will have to shoulder the cost of the damage.

Lina added that as a result of the incident, Captain Felipe Timola of the Cebu Pacific safety division has ordered the temporary grounding of the aircraft with registry number RPC 3917, pending safety checks.

The inspection of the aircraft and the investigation will be conducted by the Aircraft Incident and Investigation Board (AIIB) of CAAP.

As of posting, the plane was parked at the aircraft operation center of Cebu Pacific along Domestic Road in Pasay City.

The pilots of the affected aircraft will also be requested to appear before the the AIIB panel to shed light on the incident and to determine whether human error or aircraft problems caused the accident. – with reports from Raoul Esperas