Palawan News file photo

A media personality shared in his column on a national daily his negative experience after an AirSwift aircraft met an accident at Lio Airport on January 9.

In his All Insight column entitled “AirSWIFT, CAAP dampen tourism in Palawan” posted by the The Manila Times on January 14, Al Vitangcol narrated the “sad state of Philippine airports” that he experience firsthand.

“As if the New Year’s Day country-wide airport ‘glitch’ was not enough, the sad state of Philippine airports was again exhibited on Monday at the Lio Airport in El Nido, Palawan. An inbound AirSWIFT flight experienced tire failure upon landing in the regional airport (ENI) on January 9. The busted tire scraped and got stuck in the airport’s runway pavement. The accident resulted in the temporary closure of the obstructed runway,” he wrote.

Vitangcol questioned the Lio Airport authorities’ decision to wait for Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) officials to conduct an investigation rather than towing the grounded aircraft and repairing the runway pavement damaged by the incident.

Vitangcol also questioned the ability of the airport to respond to such incidents or whether there is a protocol in place on the first hand, given that the incident affected hundreds of tourists from both the Philippines and other countries.

“Aircraft can simply be towed by tow tractors (usually referred to as “tug”) away from the runway. Does Lio Airport even have tow tractors? Why wait for CAAP officials and prolong the agony of the stranded passengers? Is there no protocol in place for this kind of event?” he asked.

He also mentioned that the airline did not inform its passengers about the flight cancellations, which resulted in criticism from the passengers who were unhappy with the service.

Some passengers were even forced to travel to Puerto Princesa in order to catch a flight or squeeze onto another airline’s Manila-bound flight.

According to Vitangcol, passengers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) have lost their cool due to the alleged airline’s incompetent service.

“Chaos was not confined to the Palawan airports. Back at the NAIA Terminal 3, passengers were likewise up in arms against AirSWIFT for the canceled flights bound for El Nido. A certain Jut Phan commented, “F**k AirSwift, poor management skills and no communication whatsover [sic].” Robin Poppins said, “My flight goes this evening too. They won’t respond to emails or calls.” Pete Malupete replied “Fyi the AM flight passengers are still in Belmont Hotel with no word from Airswift.” he shared.

Finally, Vitangcol urged the government to address these issues that could have a negative impact on the country’s tourism.

“Mr. President, please do something about this. Or, will you just allow AirSWIFT and CAAP to diminish the potential of tourism in Palawan?” he wrote.

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