MANILA, June 4 (Mabuhay) — The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines says the Cebu Pacific mishap at the Davao International Airport on Sunday was likely caused by pilot error.
CAAP deputy director general John Andrews says based on their initial findings there was nothing wrong with the plane’s engine.
He adds another Cebu Pacific aircraft was able to land safely just two minutes before the accident.
The plane’s flight data recorder will be sent to Singapore for analysis.
“We have now the evidence to state for a fact that pilot error was involved. It’s not the plane. No problem with the plane,” Andrews said.
“The right wheel touched down very, very close to the edge of the grass portion. It traveled only a few hundred meters before it hit the grassy portion, that is why passengers said they felt a strong vibration. During all this time, the captain had engines in full reverse, that’s why a lot of debris was thrown toward the runway… So I will assume both engines were damaged because of this,” Andrews said.
Cebu Pacific was given until 7 a.m. to remove the damaged plane from the runway, but the airline is still struggling to do so.
CAAP wants to take over the clearing operations but it cannot do so without consent from the airline.
“There is a law that says you must have the consent of the owner to move the aircraft. Until this law is repealed, removed, we will not have the right to remove the aircraft,” Andrews said.
Cebu Pacific spokesperson Candice Iyog, meanwhile, insists their pilots are experienced and are considered veterans in the industry.
On Monday evening, Cebu Pacific chief executive officer Lance Gokongwei apologized for the inconvenience caused by the Cebu Pacific plane that is still blocking the Davao airport’s runway. The Davao airport remains closed as of Tuesday morning. (MNS)