While Transportation Chief Arturo Tugade deeply regrets what happened in the evening of August 16, when Xiamen Airlines went off the runway that stalled the operations of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport for about 36 hours, he said that the Chinese airline should pay for the damages and opportunities lost.
This was the part of the 10 minutes opening remark of Tugade given by Senate Committee on Public Services CommiteePublic Hearing Committee headed by Senator Grace Poe.
As a result of the NAIA mishap, several local and international flights were affected in the Philippines’ main gateway.
Tugade said, that the Civial Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) is working with Xiamen Airlines to investigate the incident.“I am told that in conversations between Xiamen Airlines and CAAP, they will pay the damages agreed upon,” Tugade said to the Senate panel.
The Transportation Chief added that the cost of opportunities lost will also be included in the computation of damages.
“Our position is that not only the actual damages (will be paid), but the loss of opportunities should be included. There will be a study and computation to determine the damages that should be received from Xiamen Airlines,”Tugade added.
For some observers, they did not find the apology of Secretary Tugade sincere as he sounded defensive and even unnecessarily cited the cases of similar incidents in other countries. But he apologized to those who were looking forward to their holidays and also to the overseas Filipino workers who missed their flights.
With his voice sounded like craking, ”From the bottom of my heart, I am truly, deeply sorry/“
Based on the initial estimate, Xiamen will have to pay is at P15 million, according to Manila International Airport Authority General Manager Ed Monreal. This included manpower, rental costs of crane and other equipment used to remove the aircraft from the runway.
Monreal added, “Right now there’s only two aspects that we have computed in the range of P15 million, but there’s still a lot.”
Tugade highlighted the things that everyone can learn from the incidents and these are the need to upgrade training and skills capability, revisit passengers bill of rights, safety and security of riding public, decongest NAIA, the need consolidated report of DOF in their effort to fastrack.
He made it clear however that while everything is being fast tracked now, we will never sacrifice or prejudice the quality of project.