Unprofessional attitude of Cebu Pacific flight crew

davaoAfter Cebu Pacific Airbus A320-200 suffered a hard landing at Davao International Airport that jolted its 165 passengers coming from Manila, and overshot the runway with its nose stuck to the ground, the airline’s crew members, as well as its management, are now at the receiving end of strong criticism from the public.

It is not so much that it had inconvenienced a lot of other Davao-bound passengers on other airlines since the authorities closed the airport, but it was more about the display of unprofessional attitude by the flight crew towards its passengers, in particular, and the unfortunate incident/accident, in general.

It was bad enough that the plane overshot the runway and landed on its nose after a hard landing, but it was even worse that the pilots and the cabin crew treated the whole incident as something normal and not an emergency situation.

For an airplane to have an abnormal touchdown and, worst still, for the pilots to unable to stop the plane upon landing borders on an emergency and crisis situation that necessitates immediate freeing and saving of the passengers lives.

For sure there was pandemonium inside the plane, with people wanting to be evacuated in case something more disastrous would happen.

“Everyone panicked. Women and children were screaming,” a passenger said. Who wouldn’t with the crashing impact!

Not only was an early evacuation of the aircraft done, but there was not even an emergency or rescue units in sight.

What made the situation more pathetic inside the plane is that the pilots and the rest of the crew did not take charge and immediately showed their presence even if only to assuage the anxiety of the passengers. It would have been enough to calm them down.

Ateneo de Davao President Joel Tabora was right in lamenting that, “No instructions were given; no calming words were spoken.” The airline personnel “froze” and “did not know what to do,” he added.

That there was “insensitivity and  ineptness” on the part of the airline’s personnel in crisis situation can only be too obvious from Tabora’s observation that, “It was only after 27 minutes in a smoked cabin that the passengers were allowed to leave the plane by coming down emergency slides.”

One passenger commented about how most of the passengers complained about having to walk almost a kilometer just to reach the arrival section of the airport without any personnel from Cebu Pacific offering assistance or even comfort.

Yet, Cebu Pacific President Lance Gokongwei defended the crew’s action, while apologizing at the same time for the mishap.

Apologizing, yes, but defending a blunder and lapse in judgment is simply out of place. The more the public take umbrage at such an insensible statement.

Perhaps it is time for Gokongwei to change protocol inside his aircraft when it comes to touchdown and landing abnormalities. He should adhere to what an expert has to say and be more professional when something untoward occurs.

“When an aircraft lands where it is not supposed to be, the pilot calls for an immediate evacuation and the cabin crew must immediately open the doors and put out the slides as quick as possible,” Benjamin Solis, a retired Philippine Airlines (PAL) pilot who has been helping airport authorities in Clark, India, and others meet global standards.

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6 comments on “Unprofessional attitude of Cebu Pacific flight crew

  1. batangbuotan says:

    In software testing, we have “happy scenario” and we have “alternative scenario”. Everyone prepares for “happy scenario” – that’s the normal situation. It seems Cebu Pacific has not planned “to-dos” and “hows” when “alternative scenarios” come on their way.

    Of course no one would like to welcome “alternative scenarios”. Everyone expects perfect touchdown. The pilot spent years to train; the aircraft has been inspected – all was well. Suddenly, something unexpected happened. It became an opportunity for us to get a glimpse on “preparedness” of crews in an airline company. Yes, I feel frustrated with the way the situation was handled.

    I am considering now to cancel my Cebu Pacific bookings. It’s not good for me to fly when my heart is beating fast. As I always say, ambot lang!

    • quierosaber says:

      LOL! Seriously, it takes an accident to happen to be able to assess how good the plane mechanics are, the pilots and the cabin crew, included. Skills and looks matter, after all this is a competitive business that makes glamor inviting to passengers. But certainly not to be overlooked is the mental toughness and the courage to face challenges attributed to flight adversities. This will put all airline flight personnel to the test whether or not management has made them undergo the right and proper training to make the logical decisions during emergencies or crisis. Obviously the required attitude and response – the presence of mind – wasn’t with this airline during the Davao mishap.

  2. penpowersong says:

    The cebu pacific plane did not overshoot the runway, it MISLANDED, a clear pilot’s error.Overshooting the runway is going beyond the end of the runway. In the case of the cebu pacific, its right tire mislanded on the grassy shoulder of the runway. The jolt should have alerted the crew to give instructions to the passenger. Another lapse is that there was no immediate action when the incident happened. The crew should have released the emergency chute for the sliding exit of the passengers. The lady spokesperson of the ariline erred when she said, that since there was no fire, emergency embarkation was not necessary. In a situation like that, ANYTHING can happen. I used to work in PAL, and we treat such kind of situation with urgency. In an emergency that involves an aircraft, it is better to overreact than to underreact. Worse, none of the land employees of cebu pacific were on hand to assist. What they should have done was rush to the scene with umbrellas, at least, because it was raining.The 15 minutes lapse before the exit doors were opened was dangerous. The defensive stance of the airline just emphasize its arrogant image.

    • quierosaber says:

      I think you know where off you speak and I totally agree with you. Just wondering if Gokongwei would still stick to his protocol version of the incident not being in an emergency situation had there been injuries, and not exactly casualties? If what constitute to them as emergency is seeing actual fire, then they are doing a great disservice and injustice to the riding public. I dread to think what could have happened if the same crew made an emergency landing at the Hudson River in NY. ‘Fly at your own risk’ should be the airline’s new motto.

  3. safety says:

    Makes you wonder if it was their CEO who was inside the aircraft, could they have acted and done the same ?…. be safe than sorry my friends. i would rather fly with an airline that is operated and managed well

    Makes you wonder as to why it was hard for them to comply with government aviation basic safety regulations… its BASIC not unless they were told not to do so out of interest of protecting their profit and avoid incurring additional expense in relation to evacuation logistical requirements & to wait for their insurance company to agree and take on the expense for puling out the passengers & aircraft from the strip as part of their insurance claim…

    it makes me think as to how their aircrafts are really maintained? Crews are not well trained as it is now appears based on real hard facts … if you still ride with this airline… chances are it is a one way ticket… you fly as a living and you land as a spirit….

    • quierosaber says:

      Your last paragraph really made my day! LOL! but, seriously, the safety program and policy of this airline is iffy, if not distressing. Thanks.

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