House panel to probe Xiamen Air runway accident at NAIA

 

MANILA, Philippines – The House committee on transportation will begin its investigation into the Xiamen Air plane accident at the country's main airport, which led to flight delays and cancellations that left thousands of passengers stranded.

The House panel will conduct the probe into the runway mess at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 9 am on Wednesday, September 5, at the Fuentebella Hall of the Batasang Pambansa. (READ: TIMELINE: Xiamen Air plane mishap at NAIA runway)

Catanduanes Representative Cesar Sarmiento, chairperson of the transportation committee, himself filed the resolution that directed his own panel to conduct the investigation in aid of legislation.

On August 16, Xiamen Air Flight MF8667 skidded off the NAIA runway amid a heavy downpour. The runway was then temporarily closed until almost midday of August 18, and hundreds of flights were delayed or canceled.

Thousands of passengers were stranded at NAIA for hours, with some even spending more than a day waiting for their rescheduled flights.

Readouts of the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder of the Xiamen Air plane, which were brought to Singapore on August 23, were returned to Manila on August 31.

In a Senate hearing on August 29, Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal said Xiamen Air will have to pay the government P33 million, but it cannot be charged for the impact of its plane accident on flight operations.  

This is more than double the amount that was initially estimated by the government. 

Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto also slammed the Department of Transportation for the slow rollout of airport projects to decongest NAIA. 

Senators questioned why Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade was not physically present during the NAIA runway closure as well. He said that while he did not go to the site of the accident, he still remained "on top of the situation." – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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