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CAAP Suspends Cebu Pacific’s 2 Pilots for Davao Mishap

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


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).


Oropesa has been suspended for six months and he will act only as co-pilot for one year after his airline transport license will be reinstated by the CAAP, while Perello will be suspended for three months, subject to his compliance with the requirements for the reinstatement of his Commercial Pilot License.


CAAP Deputy Director General John Andrews said that they have proven that the incident happened was a pilot error that is why they are giving the sanctions to the two pilots.


Andrews explained that 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.


Both also committed mistakes in declaring emergency evacuation, wherein they should have declared it 90 seconds after the aircraft came to a full stop but instead waited for 15 minutes, Andrews added.


The cabin crew of Cebu Pacific were not penalized because based on what transpired in the incident, the cabin crew positioned themselves near the evacuation routes and waited for the pilot and co-pilot’s instructions, said Andrews.


Cebu Pacific, known to be Philippines’ 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.


Meanwhile, 37 passengers of the said flight are seeking P1 million each in damages for the mishap.


The passengers named their group Flight 5J 971 Crash Victims Association, Inc.


Through their legal counsel Atty. Roberto De Leon, they have sent a formal demand letter to the Cebu Pacific for the compensation for the emotional distress and trauma they have experienced and are expecting a response within three weeks.


If Cebu Pacific’s reply would be unfavorable the group would further the case to court.

Corabelle is the Bayanihan's Phillippine News Correspondent.