Balikatan exercise 2023 was temporarily halted after a civilian plane was seen low flying over the military live-fire exercise
The civil aviation regulator on Thursday launched an investigation over a report that a civilian aircraft has interrupted the Balikatan 2023 exercise in Ilocos Norte.
Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) spokesman Eric Apolonio said the unidentified plane was flying low within the no-fly zone amid the Balikatan live firing exercises which the CAAP said could jeopardize the safety of the civilian aircraft and the people on board.
Apolonio added the CAAP has been notified by the Balikatan management regarding a low-flying plane that has been spotted during joint military exercises.
"The reported incident is currently under investigation, and the Balikatan management together with the CAAP are working together to identify and determine details about the concerned aircraft," the CAAP said.
Prior to the incident, the CAAP issued seven notices to airmen (Notams) in the area, which has declared it a no-fly zone.
The agency also issued airspace restrictions through Notam and ensures that pilots and aircraft operators are briefed by its Air Traffic Service (ATS) before flight plans are accepted, especially with regards to no-fly zones.
The Balikatan exercise is the largest annual bilateral training exercise between the US and Philippine military forces.
This year's Balikatan exercise is its 38th and largest iteration to date.
The aviation regulator said it "would like to assure the public that it is committed to ensuring the safety of all air operations within its jusrisdiction, especially in sensitive areas such as during military exercises."
Tags: #civilianaircraft, #disregardingsafety, #lowflying, #balikatanexercise, #caap