A CEBU Pacific Air pilot who said in a social media post that Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” G. Robredo asked for priority landing last month has admitted that his claim had no basis, the budget carrier said in a statement on Tuesday.
The pilot’s claim “had no basis,” Samuel Avila, Cebu Pacific’s vice president for flight operations, said. The pilot’s post “was purely speculative and careless on his part.”
“On behalf of Cebu Pacific, and as Head of our Pilot Group, I take command responsibility and apologize unreservedly to the Vice President and the general public for the actions of our pilot,” Mr. Avila said.
The pilot is now under disciplinary review by the company.
“As professional aviators and free citizens of this country, we are free to express opinions, but we are also expected to carry out our roles and duties with utmost discernment and caution,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said in a statement that it “sees the issue as an internal matter that must be discussed by the airline and concerned pilot.”
“CAAP would like to clarify that Air Traffic data, sourced out from the Air Traffic Service are included in the Authority’s confidentiality clauses as this information has its security implications.”
CAAP noted that it issued a memorandum on presidential movements in 2016, ensuring smooth and safe operations in all CAAP-managed airports.
“As the country’s national aviation authority, responsible for keeping air traffic organized and safe, CAAP will always uphold safety and security over personal and political angles.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza