MANILA International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Ed Monreal yesterday announced that an investigation is now being conducted into the ‘false hijacking alarm’ incident involving an international airline and which happened the other day.
Monreal also said that based on initial inquiry, the pilot admitted having pressed the ‘hijack button’ erroneously. He added that recommendations on what actions should be taken or what sanctions must be imposed on whom will be determined by the outcome of the ongoing investigation.
It was learned that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has started its inquiry on the Saudia Airlines flight SV872 incident which took place after the Manila control tower of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) received a distress signal that alerted airport authorities while the aircraft is in the vicinity of Lubang Island 20 miles away from the airport.
According to CAAP spokesman Eric Apolonio, reports from the Philippine National Police (PNP) Aviation Security Group, which exercises operational control and supervision that secure the country’s entire airport against offensive and terroristic acts that threaten civil aviation, will be validated together with the report from the security office of the MIAA which has supervision over NAIA terminals.
Apolonio explained that once the CAAP comes up with the findings and recommendations, such will then be forwarded to CAAP’s counterpart, the General Authority of Civil Aviation (GACA) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, for appropriate action.
Saudia Airlines flight SV872 from Jeddah to Manila landed safely at the NAIA after a distress signal from the pilot was received by Manila area control center at 2:13 p.m. The distress code was ‘squawking 7500’, a code being used by pilots to state that a hijacking incident is in progress aboard an aircraft.
Thus, the said flight was given priority landing by airport authorities at 2:38 p.m., directed to park on the remote bay and then isolated for security procedures at Charlie 06 at the NAIA taxiway.
As early as 5 p.m. the other day, Monreal said the pilot committed an error, causing the plane to be isolated and for all its passengers to be held for about two hours and once cleared, they were transported to the NAIA terminal building.