Philippine Carriers May Face Longer Turn Around Times

Following a landing incident that saw a Cebu Pacific jet veer off the runway at Davao International Airport in early June, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines is now focusing on increasing turn around times to enhance passenger safety. 

Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
Mandating a minimum turnaround - the time a plane stays at a terminal gate in between flights - will likely prove to be controversial as the budget carriers that dominate the Philippine market rely heavily on quick and efficient turnaround times as part of their low cost business model. 

In an interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, deputy Director General John Andrews said that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines would seek to increase turn around time to at least 45 minutes. He indicated that the agency has made a recommendation to President Aquino that the increased turnaround time be "mandatory" for Cebu Pacific as part of the requirements the airline must comply with as a result of the June accident that was caused by pilot error. Cebu Pacific's turnaround time policy is currently set at 30 minutes. 
But while initial plans call for Cebu Pacific to comply with the newly proposed policy, Andrews says that the plan might eventually cover all domestic passenger flights across all carriers in the Philippines depending on the instructions issued by the government. The agency believes that such a move would enhance safety for all passengers.
"When there is pressure to do things fast, sometimes things are missed," said Andrews. "Our airlines are very safe but you cannot take things for granted." The Civil Aviation Authority is still awaiting instruction from the Department of Transportation as to whether the policy change can be implemented. "I was hoping this would take effect July 15 for Cebu Pacific but we still have not received word from the department," said Andrews. "We want to give Cebu Pacific a few weeks to rearrange their schedule and notify passengers."
Copyright Photo: Angelo Agcamaran/PPSG
Following the report published by the Civil Aviation Authority that attributed pilot error as the cause of the landing accident at Davao Airport, the local regulator issued a corrective action plan to Cebu Pacific requiring the airline to comply with a number of recommendations. One of the suggestions in that plan was the increase in turnaround time to 45 minutes. But Andrews is recommending that the plan be mandated industry wide for all airlines. 
The plan is likely to be opposed by the country's budget airlines which represent more than 80% of the flights in the Philippine aviation market. According to an anonymous airline executive, the plan would have a negative impact on the airlines as the low cost model is built on speed and efficiency. The turnaround time is closely linked with an aircraft's utilization which is a key performance indicator. Budget airlines aim to maximize aircraft utilization in an effort to increase efficiency and make the economics work but increasing turnaround times would increase expenses for an industry that is already plagued by high fuel prices. 
The CEO of AirAsia Philippines, Marianne Hontiveros, said that the company's 25 minute turnaround time was "sacred" and that "safety is never compromised." But Andrews believes that longer wait times wouldn't just increase safety but also help carriers to "make corrections" to their schedules given the congestion problems at Ninoy Aquino International Airport. 
Cebu Pacific was ordered by the Civil Aviation Authority on June 26 to re-evaluate its 30 minute turnaround policy and to consider extending it to 45 minutes. The airline has yet to make any adjustments but if the Civil Aviation Authority gets its way, Cebu Pacific may not have a choice. 


  1. They are barking on the wrong tree again. How about looking at the Pilot's work conditions? are they tired? overworked? etc.

  2. Actually it can be a factor too imagine from the last passenger to disembark the clock is ticking to meet the 25 minutes ground time, if the 45min ground time allocation will be implemented the crew will definitely have time to stretch their arms and legs and their minds too. Always remember that the atmospheric pressure is different inside and outside the aircraft. J.d.

    1. What are you talking about? I've been an airline pilot for awhile, you won't feel a diff in short domestic flights!
      This is just a way of PAL to cope with everyone else, because they dont have the ability to do Quick TurnAround

    2. I am not a pilot so I can't say if the extra 15-20 minutes would be a factor to the pilot's reflexes.
      But can this extra time be used to check the aircraft? In the case of Cebu Pac's flight to DVO, could the extra time have been used to check if the wipers were working? According to press reports, the pilot said this was a factor for him not seeing the runway clearly.

  3. I also respect your point Sir, what I am trying to say here is that it can be a factor too. But let's just also consider that not all of us has the same stamina. On the business side well its not practical considering that time is very vital in airline operations but above all of these let us remember that safety is our topmost priority. 10 or 20 min addition in groundtime is just like a snap but that little time will surelly help you to relax not only physically but also mentally.

  4. 5J's pilots are unreliable. Flying the A320 with low flying time. Cebu Pacific must be getting its pilots from the bush!


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