2 pilots suspended after Davao airport mishap

Subscribe Now June 25, 2013 at 07:24pm

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has suspended the two pilots manning the Cebu Pacific A320 that overshoot the runway of Francisco Bangoy International Airport in Davao City last June 2.

"Definitely, it's a pilot error. We do not give sanctions like that unless we prove that is was a pilot error," CAAP Deputy Director General John Andrews said in press conference at CAAP headquarters in Pasay City.

CAAP has found Captain Antonio Roehl Oropesa and First Officer Edwin Perello liable for non-compliance with a number of Philippine Civil Aviation Regulations (PCAR).

With the failure of the pilots to adhere with the number of PCAR regulations, Andrews said Oropesa has been suspended for six months and he will act only as co-pilot for one year after his airline transport pilot license will be reinstated by the CAAP.

On the other hand, Perello will be suspended for three months, subject to his compliance with the requirements for the reinstatement of his Commercial Pilot License.

Andrews said both Oropesa and Perello failed to adhere with PCAR provisions relating to Operation Below Decision Height or Minimum Descent Altitude while the aircraft was approaching the runway.

Andrews presented an animation made by the Aircraft Accident Investigation Board of Singapore, which analyzed the aircraft's cockpit voice recorder.

"The pilot could have practice 'balked' landing where the aircraft will take off again after missing the center line of the runway and make a turn around to avoid the accident," Andrews said.

He said the two pilots also committed mistakes in declaring emergency evacuation.

"They should have declared emergency evacuation 90 seconds after the aircraft came to a full stop but they waited for 15 minutes before declaring emergency evacuation," Andrews said.

Andrews said the CAAP probe team also found out that the two pilots failed to comply with PCAR provisions relating to cockpit checklist procedure.

CAAP however did not recommend penalty for the cabin crew as they just waited for pilot's command that never came. The cabin crew positioned themselves near the evacuation routes and waited for the pilot and co-pilot's instruction, he added.

The Cebu Pacific, the country's budget airline, has not been given sanctions but asked to comply with some policies that is focused on safety, random sampling of flight crew capabilities, reassess its turn-around policy and allow CAAP flight inspectors to monitor their aircraft before leaving the airport.

"The role of the CAAP flight inspectors will go on until we are assured that the airline is following certain policies and regulations to assure safety of the passengers," Andrews said.

He, however, assured that the public that it still safe to fly with Cebu Pacific, the country's premier budget airline, as well as with other local airlines including flag carrier Philippine Airlines.

"Cebu Pacific is safe, we just want to make it safer," Andrews said in Filipino.

"CAAP remains steadfast in the pursuit of its mandate to make air transport as safe as possible," Andrews said.

Transportation and Communication Secretary Joseph Abaya commended the CAAP for doing a good job in investigating the incident.

"With this results, I hoping we can do remedial actions to avoid future accidents like what happened in Davao," Abaya, who joined the press conference.

Andrews said the accident cost CAAP at least P3 million in losses as it forced to stop operation of Davao airport for at least two days, affecting nearly 100 flights and more than 50,000 passengers.

"That is not counting incurred by other airlines and Davao City itself," he said.

Last June 2, Cebu Pacific Flight 5J-971 left Ninoy Aquino International Airport at 5:40 p.m. and reach Davao International Airport at 7:07 p.m.

But during, the aircraft rolled out of the runway, came to a halt, and was eventually immobilized 845 meters from its point of touchdown with no one from 70 people on board hurt.

On Tuesday, the Cebu Pacific management acknowledged receipt of the Notice of Decision issued by the CAAP regarding the accident involving one of its Airbus 320 aircrafts.

"We will comply with all the recommendations indicated within the Notice of Decision," the airline said in an statement.

It stressed that safety has always been the highest priority of the company as it aims to "provide the safest airline service possible."

Cebu Pacific said that in addition to CAAP's recommendations, it has started additional initiatives that would avert possible occurrence of similar accidents in the future.

Overseeing these initiatives is Captain Jim Sydiongco, Cebu Pacific's vice president for flight operations, who has vast experience in aviation industry.

Sydiongco is a former head of the Flight Standards Inspectorate Service (FSIS) of the CAAP. He also served as Chief Pilot for Safety Standards and Systems at Philippine Airlines for 21 years; and as the Senior Safety Supervisor of EVA Air for 16 years.

"His expertise is invaluable to CEB's pilot management team as he oversees all aspects of flight operations, including pilot training," Cebu Pacific said.

"Moving forward, as we further grow and fly to new destinations using new aircraft, CEB will continue to find ways to serve our passengers better," it added.

Source: sunstar.com.ph

« All set for Duterte's oath-taking rites Mountain range in Davao nominated to UN's heritage list »