Palace says Xiamen airlines to be held accountable, apology not enough
Malacanang said on Monday an apology from Xiamen Airlines was not enough as it should be held accountable for the incident at the airport that affected hundreds of flights and thousands of passengers.
In a press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said that investigation has been ongoing and this was the reason why the pilot of the aircraft was barred from leaving the country.
"It’s not just an apology that we will ask for. We’re now conducting an investigation if there’s any liability on the part of the Xiamen pilot, that’s why he has been asked not to leave the country. That’s part of an ongoing investigation," he said.
Asked the possible liabilities of the Chinese airline, Roque said, "I think sorts of liability. I’m not actually in authority on aviation laws so I wouldn’t know. But it can’t be any different from the laws on Tort and it can’t be any different from our criminal laws on reckless imprudence resulting to damages."
It took Xiamen four days before it apologized after its aircraft skidded off the Ninoy Aquino International Airport runway on the night of August 16.
The incident resulted in the closure of the NAIA's main runway for more than 32 hours. Because of this, many flights were canceled or diverted to other airports. Thousands of passengers were stranded at the four terminals of the NAIA.
"The continued thunderstorms have caused huge difficulties in the movement of the aircraft, causing the main runway at Manila airport to be closed for more than 32 hours, resulting in a large number of flight delays and passengers stranded. Xiamen Airlines apologizes to all the passengers affected by the incident and will do its utmost to assist," said Che Shanglun, chairman of Xiamen Airlines.
Roque said the government is trying to find a long-term solution to prevent a similar incident from happening.
He said there is a proposal to upgrade the NAIA to include a new terminal building and a new runway.
Roque also cited the planned construction of a Bulacan airport and the expansion of the Clark International Airport. Celerina Monte/DMS