WATCH | CebuPac could face sanctions for ‘panic’ on delayed flight, airline apologizes

June 17, 2017 - 12:41 PM
Image from News5 video of the scene inside Cebu Pacific Flight 5J575.

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation and the Civil Aeronautics Board warned Cebu Pacific it could face sanctions if it is proven to have violated the two-hour period to deplane passengers in case of “long tarmac delays.”

The warning came after a passenger of Cebu Pacific Flight 5J575 bound for Cebu Friday afternoon posted videos on social media showing scenes inside the aircraft, including what appeared to be a woman who fainted, apparently because of the heat.

The post said the air conditioning on the plane was not turned on but did not say how long the aircraft had been on the runway.

In a statement Saturday, Cebu Pacific admitted the flight “encountered a delay due to debris that had to be cleared from the runway” and that “one passenger fainted, prompting emergency medical assistance.”

It also apologized “for any inconvenience these incidents may have caused and appeal for understanding.”

In an advisory, the DOTr acknowledged the posted videos and ordered CAB to investigate the matter. CAB, in turn, “has directed Cebu Pacific to investigate the matter thoroughly and submit an incident report within one hour from notice.”

“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,” DOTr said in the advisory.

It also said if the pilot “shall likewise be held liable as he has the obligation to order the deplaning” if the two-hour period was exceeded although this would be endorsed to the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, which has jurisdiction over airmen.

In its statement, Cebu Pacific said it “decided to change the aircraft for the comfort of our passengers” on receiving reports “that the cabin temperature was warm.”

“Our cabin crew and ground personnel assisted all passengers and handled the transfer to the replacement aircraft” and the flight “departed Manila at about 732pm, and landed safely in Cebu at 852pm.”