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Bacolod City, PhilippinesTuesday, June 4, 2013
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Airline passengers urged:
Fight for rights under law

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines yesterday urged the passengers of at least 45 cancelled flights to and from Davao International Airport to avail of the privileges provided under the new air passengers bill of right.

”If there are airlines not complying this bill of right, we ask passengers to write their complaints to the implementing agencies,” CAAP deputy director general Capt. John Andrews said in a press conference yesterday.

Andrews said the airlines that cancelled their flights due to runway obstruction at the Davao airport should provide all the affected passengers with meals and accommodation.

On Sunday night, a Cebu Pacific flight 5J 591 from Manila landed safely but veered off the right side of the runway allegedly due to heavy downpour.

Due to the incident, the Davao airport management was forced to stop operations, resulting in the cancellation of at least 45 flights, including 30 yesterday.

Andrews said the CAAP has already sent a team to conduct clearing operations and, “hopefully, it will be finished within three hours.”

The CAAP official also said investigation has already started as to the cause of the incident which he likened to a similar incident involving Airbus 320 of the Cebu Pacific at the Puerto Princessa airport in Palawan sometimes in 2011.

Andrews said the Cebu Pacific plane that figured in similar incident in 2011 also veered off the runway after it did a crosswind landing.

”We are quite confident that it is the same condition that happened last night. We will continue our investigation to find out the real cause of the incident through the flight data recorder,” Andrews said.

Unfortunately, Andrews said results of the Puerto Princessa airport incident is not yet completed due to the difficulty of sending the flight data recorder to Singapore.

Andrews said the CAAP has already grounded the two pilots, Capt. Antonio Roel Oropesa and first officer Edwin Perello, pending the investigation of the Davao airport incident

”We can see two factors that contributed to the incident. It’s the wind and the heavy rains,” Andrews said.

Andrews, however, clarified that the two pilots of flight 5J 591 were all qualified to fly an A320 aircraft.

The Cebu Pacific flight 5J591 with registry number RP-C3266 left the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 5:40 p.m. Sunday for Davao.

Andrews said the nose wheel of the aircraft collapsed but its two landing gears appear be in order with its left engine visibly damaged.

All passengers are safe and were accommodated by Davao Airport Authority and Cebu Pacific management. A total of 165 passengers, including four infants, were on board the flight.*PNA

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