Thursday, June 13, 2013

Opinion: Blame Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines for Davao mishap, too -- Cebu Pacific Airbus A320-200, RP-C3266, Flight 5J-971

On June 2, 2013, a Davao-bound Cebu Pacific aircraft failed to land properly, endangering the lives of the 165 passengers on board. Unfortunately, the airline company appeared to have failed in training their flight crew in terms of proper aircraft operations and crisis management. According to accounts of passenger-survivors, the airplane pilot and the flight crew took a long time before deciding to let them out of the plane. Making matters worse, they were met by emergency personnel only much later.

Apparently, the management of the Davao City International Airport was also remiss in responding to the clear emergency that occurred. Officials of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) are not absolved of any liability in this incident; after all, CAAP is the licensing agency of the government with regard to air transportation utilities. Investigations may be underway.

Nonetheless, the seemingly delayed response of every entity and agency concerned with air transportation is so obvious based on the accounts of the passengers. Also, the national government seems to have given little attention to what happened. It must have forgotten that the airline industry and air transportation sector are vested with public interest.

Instead of merely giving out media statements that are not yet accurate, the CAAP and the people in Malacañang should assure the public that safety measures to avoid any similar future incident are being crafted at the moment. Merely shoving the blame on the airplane pilot and the airline is no solution at all.



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