Pilot error likely to be cause of Cebu Pacific incident: CAAP official

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An official from the Civil Aviation Authority of Philippines (CAAP) says pilot error was the likely cause of a Cebu Pacific Airbus A320 veering off the runway on 2 June.

CAAP deputy director general John Andrews told local reporters that initial findings showed that there was nothing wrong with the jet's engines, and that the pilot had touched down on the runway's shoulder, very close to the grass patch.

Cebu Pacific had said that the aircraft, with registration RPC3266, was on the Manila-Davao route when the incident happened at Davao International Airport. It adds that the jet had landed "safely", but "veered off to the right of the runway" thereafter, adding that there was heavy rain at that time.

An official on site at the airport tells Flightglobal Pro that the cowling on both engines were damaged, and that the aircraft's front landing gear had collapsed.

"There is a probability that the incident was caused by pilot error, but we have yet to complete investigations. Right now we don't know the extent of the damage to the aircraft," says Teddy Hermano, an investigation officer with the CAAP.

He adds that the jet's cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder have been removed, and will be sent to Singapore for analysis.

Cebu Pacific says a team from SIA Engineering is working on the extraction of the aircraft, and that the nose landing gear has been lifted from the ground.

The jet, however, has yet to be removed and Davao airport remains closed. Hermano says the removal process has been slow because of concerns about further damaging the aircraft in the process. The CAAP has ordered that the aircraft be removed "by all means", so that the airport can resume operations, he adds.

Flightglobal data shows that CDB Leasing owns the aircraft.