Cebu Pacific woes not yet over
Cebu Pacific may have succeeded in clearing the Francisco Bangoy International Airport runway of its plane, but the airline’s troubles are not yet over.
Using a crane and three tractors, workers pulled the plane by its tail out of the runway and hoisted it on a truck, clearing the paralyzed airport by evening on Tuesday—around 48 hours after the aircraft with 165 passengers aboard skidded off the runway and landed on its nose.
On the first attempt at mid-afternoon, the Airbus A320-200 moved for two meters and its right rear wheels got stuck in the mud. On the second attempt, the cables snapped.
As of 4:20 p.m., the plane’s left rear wheels had already reached the runway, with workers racing against the extended deadline set by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) to get it out and the threat of heavy downpour.
The city government has threatened to file a complaint against the airport management in the CAAP for the disruption Cebu Pacific had caused.
Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio said the city would tap its pool of lawyers to provide legal assistance to passengers who wished to file complaints against Cebu Pacific and airport authorities.
Irked by how long it took airport authorities to remove the plane on the runway, Carpio said: “If that plane is still on the runway at 3 p.m., I’m going to call PAL (the Philippine Airlines) to wreck that plane, or gather all junk operators in Davao City or the Akyat Bahay gangs to remove it piece by piece.”
“The way I listen to him,” she said, referring to Frederick San Felix, CAAP airport manager, “it’s like the Cebu Pacific owns the entire airport.”
“They are trying to save the plane, an inert object, compared to the lives of people and the economic losses and inconveniences it caused Davao City,” she said.
“We are being tied down, held hostage by CAAP, and CAAP is giving all the leeway to Cebu Pacific,” the mayor added.
A passenger, Marlon Bo, a former member of the Philippine Navy and an expert in crisis management, echoed this observation in a separate interview.
Reacting to the statement by Cebu Pacific saying it was doing everything to take care of the passengers, Bo said, “I beg to disagree, the way I see it, they were more concerned about what happened to the plane than the passengers.”
Bo said he had seen how the Cebu Pacific crew mishandled the crisis, and he was not going to keep quiet about it.
“It is very rare for people to survive an aircraft accident like this, I’m going to talk about it because I was the one who was there, I’ve seen it myself, and I survived,” said Bo, who is filing a case against the airline.
“It’s not about the money but the safety of more passengers in the future,” he added.
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