Cebu Pac Dubai-Manila flight hit by tech issues, delayed by several hours
MANILA — Cebu Pacific Air apologised to passengers after an aircraft from Dubai, bound for Manila, on Jan. 2, 2017, was unable to take off due to a “technical issue,” stranding passengers in the Dubai International Airport for most of the day.
Another plane was assigned to take passengers back to Manila at 6:30 p.m. (10:30 p.m. Manila time) on Jan. 2, the budget airline said in a statement,
also on Monday.
The carrier said that Flight 5J015 was originally scheduled to leave Dubai Airport at 11 p.m. on Jan. 1, 2017 (3 a.m. Jan. 2, Manila time) before encountering a “technical problem.”
“We sincerely regret any inconvenience this incident may have caused. We hope for everyone’s understanding as safety remains our top priority,” Cebu Pacific said in its statement.
The aircraft is currently undergoing a “thorough maintenance inspection.” It added that passengers were provided with meals, hotel accommodations and a one-way travel voucher as compensation for the delay.
A Cebu Pacific spokesman said flight 5J015 had 418 passengers plus four infants. Cebu Pacific’s Dubai route is popular for people on vacation and Filipino workers based in the Middle East.
The Philippine Daily Inquirer reached one passenger on Flight 5J015 who confirmed they were given lounge access in Dubai Airport with “buffet breakfast and lunch.”
But this was after passengers had to wait inside the aircraft for nearly four hours, a long stretch of which came with no food and drinks.
The passenger, a female who declined to be named, also lamented the lack of information given out by the airline.
According to this account, passengers boarded the Cebu Pacific aircraft in Dubai at around 11:50 p.m. Dubai time.
“The plane was on its way for take off and then the pilot stopped the plane,” the passenger said, recalling there was an announcement about an unusual vibration.
Passengers were told to wait about an hour “then one hour become four hours” and passengers were eventually told to deplane around 4 a.m.
“They provided meals to some, and only to those who had meals included in their ticket,” the passenger said, noting that coffee was served around 3 a.m.
“Many passengers were getting frustrated on the plane, because they told us only a one hour delay and then passengers were getting hungry,” the passenger recalled.
At that point, they were told to deplane. Guests were told they would be given more information upon entering the airport. Once back inside the Dubai Airport, there were no “uniformed” Cebu Pacific personnel in sight, but they received assistance from what appeared to be airport personnel.
Passengers holding resident visas were given hotel accommodations while the rest, who could not exit the airport, were brought to the lounge, where food and drinks were provided.
Ahead of their return flight, the Cebu Pacific passenger said she was still thankful the problem was noticed before take-off.
“We just felt bad because of the way the situation was handled. The late coffee, lack of information and Cebu Pacific personnel at the airport,” she said. SFM
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.