Sep 232016
saudi-airlines-620x395 photo by joan bondoc

The special operations unit of the Philippine National Police aviation security group conducts clearing operations around the isolated Saudia airplane at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on Tuesday (Sept. 20, 2016). JOAN BONDOC/INQUIRER

Airport authorities are looking into possible penalties to be imposed on Saudi Airlines (Saudia) following Tuesday’s hijacking false alarm at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia).

Both the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) are evaluating possible penalties for the false alarm that sent Naia emergency and security forces scrambling to respond.

According to Caap officer in charge Jim Sydiongco, his agency is still investigating Tuesday’s incident.

According to the Aviation Security Group (Avsegroup), the two pilots of the Manila-bound Saudia flight, which was carrying some 400 pilgrims from Mecca, intended to send distress signal 7600 to the Manila control tower because there was  “no communication,” but mistakenly pressed 7500, which meant there was a hijacking in progress, to air traffic controllers.

“The licenses of the pilots are issued by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia so it is up to them to come up with sanctions. Our jurisdiction is over the airline which operates in the Philippines.  So whatever are the findings, be it sanctions or fines, we still do not know,” he said.

MIAA General Manager Ed Monreal told the Inquirer the agency is evaluating whether or not penalties may be imposed on Saudia.

Sydiongco said they are also investigating whether or not Saudia could be held accountable for acts of unlawful interference under aviation safety rules.

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