MCIA resumes 24/ 7 operations; Probe on plane accident still ongoing

THE Mactan Cebu International Airport (MCIA) has resumed its 24/7 operations four days after its operations were temporarily shut down when a Korean Air flight overshot the airport’s runway on October 23, 2022.

Julius “Jayjay” Neri Jr., general manager of the Mactan Cebu International Airport Authority, however, told SunStar Cebu on Friday, October 28, that the aircraft has not yet been removed from Runway 4 due to heavy rains brought about by Tropical Storm Paeng (Nalgae).

“We have to make sure it’s moved safely, dili mahimo nga magpataka ta’g move kay mobuto unya (we can’t just move it or it might explode),” Neri said, although he stressed that it does not matter anymore since they are now operating 24/7 since Thursday evening, October 27.

He said there is still no result yet as to the investigation on the incident, adding that it will take a lot of time to gather evidence.

Talking about lessons of the incident, Neri said they need to procure what they called disabled aircraft recovery equipment.

Neri said that they have disabled aircraft recovery equipment but they’re very old and could no longer be operated.

He said they plan to borrow equipment from the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) for the meantime in order to move the plane.

Neri said they were supposed to buy new aircraft recovery equipment, which costs about P400 million to P500 million but when the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic came, the budget intended for it was reverted back to the national government.

He said that damage done on the airport will be charged to Korean Air, including the damaged lights, but only after the aircraft will be moved.

Several flights were canceled after the incident as the MCIA’s operations were halted for a day before it partially resumed by opening the runway from 5 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

But the runway was shortened from 3.3 kilometers to 2.7 kilometers in order to resume its operations.

Neri said he was proud with their team for immediately addressing the matter which led to the airport resuming its 24/7 operations 19 hours after the incident.

“I cannot tell you how proud I am of our team that we achieved it. This is one example of resiliency of the Cebuanos and the Filipinos in general,” he added.

The aircraft was carrying 173 individuals, 162 of whom were passengers and 11 crew.

Lesson learned

Neri said the accident was also a lesson for them and for MCIA’s passengers to be ready for anything.

He added MCIA’s personnel will have to make sure that they can mobilize and react very fast when there is an incident.