Senator: Xiamen Airlines should pay back other carriers

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, August 21) — The airline that caused the runway mishap at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) has to be held accountable, Senator Koko Pimentel said Tuesday.

Speaking to CNN Philippines' The Source, the senator said Xiamen Airlines should pay back other airlines that spent more as a result of the hold-up.

"Xiamen Airlines is, I'm sure, insured. They will receive insurance compensation for what happened," Pimentel said. "But then because of the disruption, I think their insurance coverage should now cover some of the necessary or consequential expenses."

This includes, he said, how airlines spent for the food of passengers whose flights were delayed or cancelled.

A Xiamen Airlines plane slid off the runway while landing amid a downpour on August 16. The plane's nose wheel collapsed while its left engine was ripped off. The incident caused the closure of the runway for 36 hours — but thousands of passengers still feel the effects of the NAIA mess five days after the incident.

The airline released an apology on Monday, and its concerned officials have since met with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.


Pimentel admitted that the government was not prepared, and expressed support for a Senate probe on the airport mess. The hearing is set for August 29.

"That's shocking news because we should anticipate everything that can happen in an airport," Pimentel said of the reported lack of equipment that could tow away the plane.

The senator also suggested a "dual airport approach," with the government more actively tapping Clark International Airport as a partner for connecting flights to provinces.

"The treatment must be [Clark] as a partner to NAIA," said Pimentel. "The other suggestion is more runways to NAIA, but it is smack in the middle of Manila. Runways need land. You still have to study air patterns."

Senate Committee on Public Services Chairman Grace Poe on Monday said that land allotted for casinos could maybe used for a new airport runway instead.