The grounding of Cebu Pacific flights was proposed by a House leader on Friday in light of the two airport accidents that the airline’s planes were involved in during a span of two weeks.
House Assistant Majority Leader Karlo Alexei Nograles of Davao City said the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) should immediately recommend the temporary suspension of all Cebu Pacific flights and the grounding of all its pilots, considering that two of its airplanes missed the runways in the Davao International Airport and the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, respectively.
The Davao incident resulted in at least 5,000 stranded passengers because it took more than two days before the Cebu Pacific airplane was removed from the runway, while the NAIA accident on Thursday damaged five runway lights.
“If we have accidents involving buses, the DOTC, through the Land Transportation and Franchising and Regulatory Board, almost immediately suspends their entire fleet pending results of their investigation. Wouldn’t it be also appropriate if we do the same to these airlines companies?” Nograles said in a statement.
“I call on my former colleague in the House of Representatives and now DOTC Secretary Jun Abaya to look into Cebu Pacific’s safety standards, not only on its operations but on the quality of its personnel, particularly its pilots. We cannot wait for a more serious accident to happen,” Nograles added.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines decision to ground the pilot of Cebu Pacific’s flight 5J-448 involved in the Davao incident is not sufficient in ensuring the safety of their passengers, according to Nograles.
For his part, Rep. Walden Bello of Akbayan argued that Cebu Pacific should get out of the industry if it can’t guarantee the safety of its passengers.
“Cebu Pacific has the obligation to make sure its passengers safely arrive at their destination. If it can’t deliver, then it shouldn’t be in the business of flying airplanes. This deterioration of service is unacceptable,” Bello said in a statement.
Cebu Pacific, Bello said, can’t perennially pass the blame on the heavy rains for such accidents because the airline company knows the dangers caused by the week-long rains in the first place.
“These incidents are very bothering. Just because you are riding a budget plane doesn’t mean your life should be in danger,” Bello added.