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Results of investigation on ‘hot flight’ out today

By MARTIN A. SADONGDONG

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is expecting to receive today the investigation report of the Department of Transportation-Civil Aeronautics Board (DOTr-CAB) on the incident involving Cebu Pacific’s viral “hot flight” last Friday.

CAAP spokesperson Eric Apolonio said yesterday that they are already awaiting for the results of the investigation of CAB regarding the tarmac delay of flight 5J 575 bound for Cebu where a female passenger fainted and others left in discomfort due to “extreme heat.”

“Under Passenger Bill of Rights, Civil Aeronautics Board ang mag-iinvestigate noon. We hope by tomorrow, we will have it (report) pero kahapon (Saturday) nagpalabas na si (DOTr undersecretary for aviation) Captain Manuel Tamayo ng order to investigate,” Apolonio said.

He said the CAAP will oversee whether there was a violation of aviation rules and regulations committed by the airmen.

“Sanctions will be applied if indeed there is a violation,” he added.

In a compilation of viral videos and photos posted by Facebook user Gin Durano, she described the plane that they were in as “Freaking damn hot!” The flight was supposed to depart at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 for Cebu at 5:05 p.m.

“Babies are crying, old people are complaining and there’s a woman (who) got suffocated and now she has oxygen on because she can’t breathe. We’ve been here for more than an hour inside the plane,” Durano said.

“They didn’t even do anything to deplane us until the woman pass out,” she added.

The post has since garnered more than 17,000 reactions, 40,000 shares and 300 comments.

In a statement, the DOTr said that: “Should DOTr-CAB find out that Cebu Pacific Flight 5J 575 went beyond the prescribed two-hour period to deplane its passengers due to long tarmac delays, Cebu Pacific shall be held liable for the penalty prescribed under the regulation.”

Tarmac delay refers to a type of delay that occurs while passengers are already on board the aircraft, according to the Passenger Bill of Rights.

The Cebu Pacific issued a statement Saturday, saying that the tarmac delay was due to a foreign object debris (FOD) “that had to be cleared from the runway.”

“Following reports from our crew that the cabin temperature was warm, Cebu Pacific offered passengers water and immediately arranged for a change in aircraft for the comfort of our passengers. Our cabin crew and ground personnel assisted all passengers and handled the transfer to the replacement aircraft,” they added.

Cebu Pacific said the flight departed Manila at about 7:32 p.m., and landed safely in Cebu at 8:52 p.m.

“So see, ‘yung kanilang katwiran, binding legal naman ‘yun kung totoo so we have to validate that kaya dadaan sa imbestigasyon and we have to hear the side of the Cebu Pacific and the complainant talaga,” Apolonio explained.

It was not clear whether the passenger who fainted (identity withheld) was the same complainant Apolonio was referring to.

Apolonio, meanwhile, noted that they, too, have been receiving passenger complaints everyday and the viral Cebu Pacific flight was just “hyped” because of social media.

“Actually na-highlight lang kasi sa social media pero araw-araw may nangyayaring complaint at may inaaksyunan ang CAB. Meron talaga tayong experiences na ganyan kahit sa ibang bansa. Unang-una yung queuing, yung traffic, so hindi mo pwede sabihing kasalanan ng airline eh kung sabi mag-hintay sila (airmen) ‘di ba? So maraming factors, but we definitely have to hear out both sides,” he said.

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