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Cebu Pacific faces class suit from passengers in Davao flight

Aside from an investigation from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines following the erratic landing and grounding of its plane at the Davao International Airport Sunday night, air carrier Cebu Pacific may face a new problem: a class suit.

Passengers of Flight 5J-971 that made an emergency landing decided to take legal action against the airline, dzBB reported early Wednesday.

The passengers met Tuesday night and decided to go ahead with legal action against the airline, the report said.

A separate report on "Saksi" Tuesday night said the "5J-971 Victims Group" believes the apology by Cebu Pacific for Sunday night's incident was not enough.

"Lahat kami nagkakaisa... na nasaktan nang ganito.... We are not in a position to say if this [incident] was due to a technical error or whatever, we're not experts," said Jess Delgado, spokesman for the group.

The class suit comes after Ateneo de Davao University called for a boycott of the airline due to its crew's failure to "take care of the passengers" after the emergency landing.

But in an interview on Tuesday, Cebu Pacific spokesperson Candice Iyog said: “The pilot and our crew followed procedure and they assessed the situation outside. Nakita naman nila na wala namang imminent danger. Hindi naman nasusunog 'yung engine natin. Hindi isinagawa yung emergency evacuation dahil hindi naman siya kailangan.”

Sunday night's grounding forced the closure of the Davao airport's runway on Monday and most of Tuesday.

The grounded Cebu Pacific plane was finally removed from the airport's runway Tuesday evening.

Davao International Airport resumed normal operations Tuesday night, after being closed to commercial flights for two days.

As of Wednesday morning, at least four flights landed at the airport from 5 to 7 a.m., dzBB reported.

The area outside the airport also showed signs of renewed life as taxi drivers showed up to wait for passengers.

CAAP probe

Meanwhile, CAAP is investigating the incident, even as director general William Hotchkiss III said the plane's pilot and first officer, along with the cabin crew, will undergo physical checkups.

Hotckiss also said the grounded plane, including the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, will be inspected.

"We're looking how they are doing their training kasama 'yan sa safety investigation," he said on dzBB Wednesday.

The CAAP will also look into the airline's emergency response procedures, amid passengers' claims they were not allowed to exit the plane even when they noticed smoke inside.

Hotchkiss said that in cases where smoke is noticed in the cabin, "the procedure is to deplane agad (the procedure is to deplane immediately)." — LBG, GMA News