The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has meted out suspension for the pilot and co-pilot of the Cebu Pacific plane that overshot the runway of the Davao International Airport early this month.
Capt. Antonio Roel Oropesa faces a six-month suspension and is prohibited from flying an aircraft for one year while First Officer Edwin Perello, Oropesa’s co-pilot, faces a three-month suspension.
The decision was revealed during CAAP’s press briefing Tuesday, affirming initial theory that the accident was due to pilot error.
“After the lapse of the six-month suspension and compliance with the requirements for the reinstatement of the Airline Transport Pilot License, he will act only as Second-In-Command for a period of one year,” CAAP deputy director general John Andrews said of Oropesa.
Andrews also said that the pilots violated the provisions of the Philippine Civil Air Regulations, saying that the pilot should not have landed the aircraft amid the heavy rain.
Cebu Pacific Flight 5J-971 veered off the runway of Davao International Airport on the evening of June 2, 2013. The aircraft was stalled in the runway for two days, paralyzing airport operations that cost the local economy P250 million in losses.
Meanwhile, in a statement posted on its official Facebook page, Cebu Pacific said that the company will comply with CAAP’s recommendations.
The decision of CAAP was met with mixed reactions by the public. Several sectors consider the penalties as light in view of the serious risk that the pilots exposed the passengers to. Others are expecting that punitive actions be taken against the airline for the collective failure of the crew to immediately evacuate the passengers.
On the other side, a number of aviators have expressed that CAAP has already prejudged the case when it issued a statement on alleged pilot error even before the aircraft was removed from the runway.