Malacañang demands apology from Xiamen Air

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is entitled to an apology, at the very least, from Xiamen Air for the airport mess that inconvenienced thousands of passengers, said Malacañang on Monday, August 20.

"Hindi dapat makalusot na wala man lang apology, pero tingin ko (They can't get away without an apology but, for me), it's more than an apology," said Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque during a Palace news briefing.

Philippine authorities are investigating whether or not the Xiamen Air pilot can be held liable for the skidding of the plane on August 16, which led to the 36-hour closure of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport's main runway.

"It's not just an apology we will ask for. We are now conducting an investigation if there's any liability on the part of the Xiamen Air pilot. That's why he has been asked not to leave the country," added Roque.

The pilot and first officer of Xiamen Air Flight MF8667 have been barred from leaving the Philippines as the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines looks into whether or not the mishap was due to their lapses or was merely a consequence of the heavy downpour the day the plane slid off the runway.

Both the Senate and the House of Representatives plan to look into the incident.

Asked if Malacañang blames any government official for what happened, Roque said he was not in a position to pass judgment on how the crisis has been handled.

He, however, noted that Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has already publicly apologized. 

Roque also gave assurances that the government is moving ahead with ensuring improved air transportation services in the country.

The proposal by a consortium to improve NAIA and add a runway and terminal to it has been endorsed by the Department of Transportation and submitted to the Investment Coordination Committee of the National Economic and Development Authority.

As for the proposal to build a new airport in Bulacan, all needed approvals have been signed.

"It should be a go already," said Roque. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

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