Angry Chinese tourists confront CebuPac pilots

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 31 2014 03:54 PM | Updated as of Apr 01 2014 06:50 AM

MANILA – An irate Chinese tourist allegedly punched a policeman Friday, after a Cebu Pacific (CebuPac) chartered flight to Shanghai was forced to return to the Kalibo International Airport due to low visibility.

A source from the airline industry said the policeman was trying to pacify the tourists who had allegedly "surrounded" the pilot and co-pilot upon their return to the Kalibo airport.

"Pinaligiran sila," the source said. "Arm-in-arm ang mga Chinese, but they did not hurt the pilot and co-pilot." This is also contrary to news reports that the Chinese held hostage the pilots.

In an incident report, Kalibo airport officer-in-charge Cynthia Aspera identified the pilots as Captain Johnny Tinto and co-pilot Richard Avila.

She told the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) that “passengers of the said flight surrounded and blocked the two pilots [from entering] the terminal building. They are demanding for free hotel accommodation.”

The source also said that when police tried to break up the group, one Chinese tourist punched a policeman.The assailant was eventually handcuffed and detained.

Aspera did not mention anything in her report about the police being punched. She said, however, that “a certain Mr. Xue Weilang, Chinese national…was brought to the [PNP] for questioning [due to] being arrogant and disrespectful to the pilots.”

She said they eventually reached a settlement “and the pilots did not file any formal complaint.”

The source emphasized that the cancelled flight was chartered.

The aircraft and pilots were rented by a tour company, which in turn sold the airline seats to the Chinese tourists.

Asked why the tour company failed to adequately explain the situation to the tourists, the source said: “Dumating naman ang tour guide to explain. Pero yung ibang pasahero mainit, gusto nang umuwi."

In a statement, CebuPac said flight 5J074 Kalibo – Shanghai was cancelled last Friday, March 28, 2014 due to the weather condition (low visibility) in Shanghai.

“Passengers of this flight will be re-accommodated in this evening’s chartered CEB flight 5J074 Kalibo-Shanghai. It will depart at 1855H and arrive in Shanghai at 2245H.” - with report from Lynda Jumilla, ABS-CBN News