TigerAir Philippines Aircraft Slips off Runway in Kalibo

Operations at Kalibo International Airport were temporarily suspended earlier today after a TigerAir Philippines aircraft got trapped at the end of the runway after the aircraft's nosegear slipped off the concrete runway becoming stuck in the soft ground during a turn prior to take-off for Singapore as flight DG8802 from Runway 05.

Photo Source: Ceprilj Regalado/PPSG
The incident happened at approximately 8:20am resulting in the closure of the airport for the next several hours. No injuries were reported from the fifty passengers on board as a result of the mishap. Most of the passengers were foreigners returning home after a holiday at Boracay Island. According to Percy Malonesio, Kalibo Airport Manager, the front and left rear tires of the Airbus A320 aircraft got stuck at the edge of the runway while the aircraft was making a 180-degree turn prior to take-off. The engines were shut down and passengers were disembarked.

tigerair philippines accident
Copyright Photo: Jojo Terencio/ABS-CBN
In a statement released earlier today, TigerAir Philippines reported no cause for alarm and that the aircraft would be towed back to the ramp for inspection by officials and further release for flight. The airline apologized for any inconvenience caused to the passengers.  Passengers were billeted in Hotel Esperanza until the next available flight for Singapore.

Airport personnel were able to dislodge the tires and tow the aircraft back to the terminal. Meanwhile, the Civi Aviation Authority of the Philippines has launched an investigation into the incident. According to John Andrews, Deputy Director General of CAAP, the Aircraft Accident Investigation & Inquiry Board has been dispatched to Kalibo to investigate the incident. Captain Bert Yap, Vice President for Commercial Operations at TigerAir Philippines reported that both of the aircraft's pilots have been grounded and that a new flight crew has been dispatched to pilot the aircraft to Singapore once it is cleared by safety inspectors.

 Photo Source: Ceprilj Regalado/PPSG

Twelve flights were affected by the shutdown of the airport including a Cebu Pacific flight bound for Incheon. Airport operations were disrupted for nearly six hours until the airport reopened at around 2:00pm.

According to Captain Yap of Tigerair Philippines, the 180-degree turn prior to take-off was a routine procedure for the pilots. He said that pilot error was likely behind the incident, although CAAP inspectors will issue the final report on the cause. "Sometimes people get complacent and Kalibo's runway is too short," said Yap. "So they miscalculated the turn." Yap added that the pilots were "experienced" having worked previously for Cebu Pacific. The pilots remain grounded pending investigation.

This is the first accident involving TigerAir Philippines. The incident follows what has been a challenging year for budget carriers after Zest Air was grounded for three days due to safety concerns and Cebu Pacific faced harsh public scrutiny after a landing accident on June 2 at Davao International Airport.


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