A Davao representative is seeking a bigger congressional investigation into the troubled landing of a Cebu Pacific aircraft that compromised the safety of its 165 passengers at the province’s international airport Sunday.
Davao City Rep. Karlo Nograles said the House of Representatives should look into allegations that the budget airline’s pilots and flight attendants were “overworked and are not properly rested to be able to cover additional flights caused by overbooking.”
“The fact that the incident in Davao was reportedly caused by a pilot error, there is a great possibility that the pilot lacked the focus because he was already mentally and physically wasted due to extended working hours,” he said in a statement.
“You can’t push these pilots too hard as this would eventually endanger the lives of his passengers.”
Citing initial findings, Deputy Director General John Andrews of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines blamed the incident on pilot error.
Cebu Pacific president Lance Gokongwei earlier apologized for the incident, telling a television network: “In this situation, we may not have handled all issues perfectly, but we can learn from this experience.”
Nograles recognized the apology but said the congressional investigation should proceed.
In the inquiry, he said, “should not just focus on the accident itself which traumatized its 165 passengers but it should also tackle safety issues related with the various promotional campaigns of local airlines to boost sales.”
The congressman also cited the “apparent lack of training of Cebu Pacific’s in-flight crews in cases of actual emergency amid reports that they too went into panic and it took them a while before they decided to facilitate the evacuation of their passengers.”
“We should find out if our in-flight crews have gone though proper emergency training or if there is any required emergency training certification before they are even allowed to work as flight attendants,” he said.