Iloilo airport reopens after being cleared of crippled Cebu Pacific plane

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CEB stranded Iloilo airport
The Airbus aircraft of Cebu Pacific that got stuck at the Iloilo airport runway. Photograph from Facebook user Loui Latoza Barbiera via Philstar.

MANILA – The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) lifted the notice to airmen (notam) at Iloilo International Airport 2:00pm Monday (Oct. 16), nearly three days after it was forced shut by an accident involving a Cebu Pacific plane that veered off the runway.

“The airport is now open for operations. Again, we thank the riding public and affected passengers for their kind understanding,” CAPP said in a statement.

The disabled aircraft was finally towed away Monday morning from the Iloilo airport runway, after bad weather stalled the clearing operations and forced CAAP to reset twice the timeline for reopening the airport, a hub for flights in the south.

In a statement Monday, Cebu Pacific said it continues “to work with experts from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), along with local officials round-the-clock to clear the Iloilo airport runway and ensure commercial operations can safely resume.”

In light of clearing operations at the runway, Cebu Pacific said it cancelled one additional flight—5J 261 (Iloilo-Puerto Princesa). However, the return flight, 5J 262 (Puerto Princes-Iloilo), will continue as scheduled once the Iloilo runway has been opened by CAAP, the airline said.

It offered passengers on cancelled any of these options:

1. Connect via alternate routes. Cebu Pacific continues to provide free land transfers between Iloilo and Roxas for all affected passengers.
2. Rebook their flights for travel within 30 days from original departure date.
3. Get a full refund.

CEB Customer Care agents are contacting passengers on the cancelled flights to apprise them of the new schedule. They will also receive a free round-trip travel voucher, said the airline statement.

Cebu Pacific apologized “for the inconvenience this incident has caused,” and thanked CAAP, MIAA, the local government of Iloilo and other partners for their assistance. It thanked passengers for their patience and understanding; and the public for their support.

Aviation regulators, meanwhile, are continuing to investigate the cause of Friday night’s accident that caused the Cebu Pacific plane – an Aribus A320 – to veer off the runway.