Incident at Iloilo Airport still under probe – CAAP

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MA. MECINE T. Reyes, Airport Manager III, faces the Sangguniang Panlalawigan during its regular session Nov 14, 2017. Reyes said the investigation into the Oct 13 “runway excursion” of a Cebu Pacific aircraft is still under investigation. (Ricky Alejo)

THE Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP-Iloilo) said the investigation on the runway excursion involving a Cebu Pacific aircraft at the Iloilo International Airport in October 2017 is still under investigation.

Airport Manager III Ma. Mecine Reyes said they have yet to receive a result of the investigation conducted by the Aircraft Accident Investigation and Inquiry Board (AAIIB).

The board is comprised of experts and aircraft investigators from their Central Office in Manila, according to Reyes. She added that the CAAP Central Office set the timeline for the investigation.

“Whatever result of the investigation is posted by the media board on our website.  The role of the Iloilo branch is only on the preservation of evidences,” she told the Capitol beat reporters.

Reyes appeared before the Sangguniang Panlalawigan regular session on Nov 14 to shed light to the runway incident.

A Cebu Pacific plane carrying 174 passengers and six crews bound for Iloilo form Manila swerved to the left of Runway 20 at past 10 p.m. of Oct 13. CAAP shut down the airport at 11:58 p.m. of Friday and resumed operation 2 p.m. of October 16.

The manager said it really takes time to finish the investigation depending on the type of incident. She said there were instances that it took a year for the result to be released.

Board Member Domingo Oso, chair of the Committee on Transportation and Communications, questioned the CAAP representatives as to why it took them almost three days to extract the aircraft.

Engr. Diego Eric Abecendario, Air Traffic Controller Service for Area Center VI, said they still waited for the AAIIB to arrive the next day and inspect the area.

He added that they requested for additional air lifting equipment from the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

“The inclement weather was also a constraint. The main gear of the plane got stuck in soft ground. The same incident happened in Davao and it event took them 10 days to extract the plane,” he said.

Abecendario said the lifting equipment is expensive and costs around P80 to P100 million. Meanwhile, Atty. Frances Shanelle Salinas, CAAP Area VI Legal Officer, said neither Cebu Pacific nor CAAP could be held accountable if ever there are delays in the extraction of the plane and the investigation on the incident. But Salinas stressed that it is CAAP which has the last say on the extraction of the plane. “We cannot say that it is the  CAAP or the airline that is at fault if ever there is a delay.

But during such situation, it is the CAAP which has the last say to fast track the extraction,” she said.

First district board member Valentine Serag suggested that CAAP-Iloilo buy additional equipment to address similar incidents in the future with haste.

Reyes was receptive to the suggestion saying they will propose the purchase of additional equipment in the future. “CAAP has been doing our best to give assistance to passengers and we continually do our emergency plan exercise,” she said.



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