Sibulan Loses Runway Length

17 May 2016

Sibulan Airport loses another usable runway length after an Airbus A320 plane (RP-C3237) of Cebu Pacific doing flight 5J 629 (Manila-Dumaguete) struck the Acasia tree while landing at Dumaguete airport's runway 09 on April 26.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has issued new NOTAM extending the runway displaced threshold of 408m (1,338ft) for runway 09, reducing the available landing distance to 1,437 meters which effectively prevent A320 jets from landing at the runway.

Airline and CAAP investigators found “branches and leaves” in the starboard main-gear assembly of the A320. Hydraulic fluid leak was also noted prompting the airline to ground the aircraft until appropriate repairs were made.

CAAP Assistant Director General for Operations Rodante Joya said that “CAAP shortened the usable length of the runway due to safety concerns posed by tall trees obstructing the glide path of incoming flights on the approach to runway 09 from the west.”

CAAP said runway 09 will be restricted to propeller-type commercial aircraft and general aviation jets for approach and landing, citing trees posing as hazards.

Joya explained the decision to limit the airport approach to runway 09 to propeller-type aircraft is in keeping with standards set by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), where trees pose significant safety issues, endangering the lives of commercial jet passengers, as they are located within the final approach of the runway.

CAAP's Aerodrome and Air Navigation Safety Oversight Office found conditions at the Dumaguete Airport runway as “critical and has the potential to result in loss of life, serious injury or damage to facilities and which requires corrective action to be completed immediately and if not may lead to downgrading of aircraft operation to a similar airplane or worst, closure of the airport.”

The airport is serving an average of 14 commercial flights daily from Manila to Dumaguete and to Cebu, while 15 general aviation flights or private aircraft are landing or taking off daily.

Both Cebu Pacific and PAL Express A320's continues to operate to and from Dumaguete Airport using Runway 27.

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