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CAAP begins probe on ditched aircraft in San Fernando

Flipped-over training aircraft

AN investigation is now underway on the incident of a training aircraft that flipped-over on the shoreline of Barangay Canaoay, San Fernando La Union Tuesday.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines’ Aircraft Accident and Inquiry Investigation Board (AAIIB) promptly dispatched an investigator to determine the cause of the incident.

CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio said that based on initial information, the San Fernando Tower received an alert from RP-C6923 declaring an emergency failure at 8:23 a.m. after the second touch-and-go at San Fernando Airport at 8:10 a.m.

The four-seater training aircraft carrying two passengers ditched approximately 0.5 nautical miles abeam the threshold of Runway 01, ending up on the shoreline of Barangay Canaoay, with its engine cowling missing, Apolonio said.

He said the incident was immediately responded to by the CAAP Crash and Fire Rescue and the Philippine Coast Guard. The flight instructor and student pilot on board sustained minor injuries and were promptly taken to the hospital, he added.

In a separate development, CAAP announced having set an accelerated timeline for utilizing the P190 million allocated for the rehabilitation of Iloilo International Airport.

The project’s commencement for the civil works has been advanced by two months from its original schedule in November and planned initiatives include adding two new escalators while replacing two existing ones, upgrading Flight Information Display Systems, Private Automatic Branch eXchange System, Fire Detection and Alarm systems, gang chairs, and one elevator to improve the Passenger Terminal Building, as well as adding three chillers, totaling P190 million.

The P140.50 million will be dedicated to the rehabilitation and enhancement of the Passenger Terminal Building. Detailed engineering design and project planning will commence on June 15th. Procurement will follow, starting in July, and civil works are slated to begin in September, two months ahead of the original target start month of November.

Moreover, there will be separate procurements for the replacement of one unit of the old chiller and the provision of an additional two-unit chiller, with a budget allocation of 49.8 million. The procurement process for this is scheduled to commence in June 2024.

Apolonio said three chillers already purchased from the Corporate Operating Budget (COB) of 2023, are expected to be delivered this June. These chillers will be installed starting July, replacing three outdated units that have exceeded their service life and are no longer capable of providing the necessary cooling service at the airport, thus contributing to the heat. Meanwhile, the chillers to be purchased from the allocated budget of 190 million will serve as additional units at the airport and will act as alternates for other chillers to prolong their service life.

CAAP said it has prepared early plans for the Iloilo airport so that once the Department of Transportation signs the Memorandum of Agreement for the P190 million allocated budget and CAAP receives the Certificate of availability of funds, which is required to initiate the process for the program of work and procurement, the project can begin promptly.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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