Malacañang on Wednesday gave assurances that the investigation into the Davao airport accident involving Cebu Pacific will be impartial.
Palace spokesman Edwin Lacierda said Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and General William Hotchkiss of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) pledged an impartial investigation.
“Secretary Abaya has been updating the President on the goings-on, on the CAAP probe,” he told reporters.
Cebu Pacific has resumed its flights and the Davao International Airport is back on business after the Airbus A-320 jet was towed out of the runway late Tuesday.
Lacierda said the overshooting of a runway is not a peculiar event.
“These sometimes happen. Although unfortunate and we’d like to avoid situations like this, but occasionally this happens, not only in our country, but also in first world countries,” he added.
Lacierda said it is too early to say if Cebu Pacific should be held liable for the incident.
“So we’ll just wait for the conclusion of the CAAP probe. There are initial statements already issued but we would like to see the final result of the probe first,” he said. “So we would let the CAAP, the agency primarily in charge of supervising and regulating the airlines and their operations, finish their probe first,” he added.
Philippine Airlines (PAL),which also suffered losses because it had to cancel flights to Davao, said it will not sue Cebu Pacific.
PAL President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon Ang said the carrier lost about 50 flights because of the accident.
“We will not do that (file a case). We are very friendly to them. Kawawa na nga, nag-crash na nga, mag-fifile pa [It was unfortunate, their plane crashed, it would be so wrong to file a case],” he said. “Hindi natin kukwentahin lahat na yan, hindi rin nila kagustuhan yun [we will not compute the losses, Cebu Pacific didn’t want it to happen too]”.
However, there were reports that the passengers who were on the Cebu Pacific plane that overshot the runway plan to file a complaint against CEB.
But Cebu Pacific Air denied claims that its crew did not give adequate assistance to the passengers.
“The crew did not panic. They had the presence of mind to follow procedure which is what they were trained to do,” Candice Iyog, CEB Vice President for Marketing and Distribution, said.
Iyog explained that since the plane was not on fire, there was no need for an immediate evacuation of passengers. She added that the personnel on board checked each of the passengers before allowing them to get off the aircraft.
“Given the position of the aircraft, it was tilted to the front so if they had opened the back (door) and all the slides, it could have caused more injury if the crew had panicked and rushed everybody off the aircraft,” Iyod said.
She said the crew did a “precautionary disembarkation,” allowing the passengers to disembark at the front door using a slide.