Govt grounds Cebu Pacific pilots after NAIA incident
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - The pilots of budget carrier Cebu Pacific that figured in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) runway incident were suspended pending results of an investigation.
The suspension and probe are part of protocol, according to Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) director general William Hotckiss III as quoted by Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte.
"The pilots are automatically grounded and are subject to the medical exam. The incident will be submitted to the Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board and to the Flights Standards Inspectorate Service," Valte said during a press briefing on Friday, June 14.
"The aircraft itself will be subject to a thorough maintenance inspection," she added.
Cebu Pacific's Airbus A320-200 aircraft skidded to the right portion of the NAIA runway after flight 5J448 from Iloilo landed Thursday afternoon, June 13, amid heavy rain. Five runway edge runway lights were damaged.
None of the 95 passengers were hurt or injured, and the pilots — Captain Jay Palomillo and First Officer J.S. Gile — were able to taxi the plane to NAIA Terminal 3 where the budget carrier operates domestic and international flights.
CAAP spokesman Rodante Joya told Rappler the pilots will be questioned as part of the investigation. He said there is no timetable when the investigation will be complete. Revoking the pilots' license is one of the possible outcomes of the probe.
In a statement, Cebu Pacific said, "the aircraft is currently undergoing a thorough check, and awaiting release back into service."
Airport officials learned about the runway incident only after they noticed during a routine inspection a commotion among the Cebu Pacific's ramp personnel who were gathered around the aircraft.
In an incident report of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), airport inspectors said they had to inquire since "no incident was mentioned to the controller."
The NAIA incident did not disrupt operations of the airport, the country's main international gateway.
The incident happened less than 2 weeks after another aircraft from the same carrier skidded off the runway of the Davao international airport. It was also an Airbus A320-200 aircraft. - Rappler.com