CAAP: Cebu Pac plane mishap due to pilot error
MANILA, Philippines—The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has found the pilot and co-pilot of Cebu Pacific Air liable in the June 2 accident at the Davao runway.
The CAAP on Tuesday ordered the pilot suspended for six months and his co-pilot suspended for three months.
It also asked Cebu Pacific management to reassess the company’s low-cost practices.
On June 2, Cebu Pacific’s Flight 5J961 made a bad landing on the Davao International Airport and skidded to the grassland during a downpour.
Aviation authorities launched an investigation focusing on the pilots and crew who reportedly left passengers waiting some 15 minutes before deploying emergency slides.
None of the 165 passengers was injured, but several complained about the slow response. The rough landing forced the closure of some airports in Mindanao while the Airbus A320-200 remained stuck on the runway.
“Everyone panicked. Women and children were screaming,” Percival Jacones told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. He said that the cabin crew appeared stunned and that it took 15 minutes before the captain came out of the cockpit to address the passengers.
Davao Mayor Sara Duterte said airport management was late in alerting city emergency services about the landing and denied quick access to the passengers. She said that an airport security guard phoned Emergency 911 to report the accident.
Cebu Pacific President Lance Gokongwei apologized but also defended the crew’s action.
“In this situation we may not have handled all issues perfectly, but we can learn from this experience,” Gokongwei said in a television interview.
Cebu Pacific is the Philippines’ largest low-cost carrier. It operates 33 Airbus planes and eight ATRs, and also flies on regional routes.
A similar accident occurred in 2011, when a Cebu Pacific plane overshot the runway in Puerto Princesa in western Palawan province. There were no casualties.
The Ateneo de Davao University, which had members aboard on the June 2 flight, published an open letter saying it will boycott the airline to protest “the insensitivity and ineptness” of the crew.
“Your personnel lack training for an emergency situation. They froze. They did not know what do to. They must be able to put the welfare of the passengers before their own,” said university President Joel Tabora.
Originally posted at 4:20 p.m.
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