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PAL, Cebu Pacific change planes for Tacloban flights

MANILA – Philippine Airlines (PAL) and Cebu Pacific are restricting flights at the Daniel Z. Romualdez airport in Tacloban City due to the disabled private jet that skidded off the runway last Saturday.

PAL said it will be using the Bombardier Q400 instead of Airbus A320 for its flights to Tacloban because of the runway obstruction.

“PAL operations in Tacloban will continue to utilize Bombardier aircraft as A320 planes are still not allowed due to runway obstruction caused by overshooting of a private jet,” the airline said in its advisory.

Four Manila-Tacloban flights—PR/2P 2985/2986 and PR/2P 2987/2988—were also cancelled, prompting the airline to re-accommodate passengers in seven flights using the Bombardier Q400.

Cebu Pacific also adjusted its Tacloban flights to use Airbus ATR 72-500 due to the limited operations of the airport in Tacloban.

Cebu Pacific vice president for corporate affairs Jorenz Tanada said eight additional flights to and from Tacloban City were arranged to accommodate additional passengers.

The Tacloban airport was temporarily closed on Saturday after a Bombardier Global Express private jet owned by a subsidiary of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) skidded off the runway before takeoff.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is investigating the incident, which occurred less than an hour after Pope Francis' returned to Manila from Leyte.

CAAP deputy director general for operations (Ret.) Gen. Rodante Joya said a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) was issued restricting the use of the Tacloban airport to aircraft that could only land on its usable runway length of 1,500 meters from 9 a.m., January 18 until 9 p.m., January 20.

He said these aircraft include jets or turbo-propeller planes such as the Bombardier Dash 8 and the ATR 72-500, which has a seating capacity of 72.

Removing the disabled aircraft at the runway may take at least three to four days, a CAAP source said.

The 19-seater private jet was carrying government officials including Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa and Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. They were not hurt in the incident.


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