CAB: Cebu Pacific won’t be fined over flight cancellations

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2019   •   1819

MANILA, Philippines – The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) will not fine Cebu Pacific over its series of flight cancellations from April 28 to May 10, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Wednesday.

READ: Cebu Pacific cancels more flights until May 10

The DOTr explained that no fines will be imposed after CAB found that the concerns of passengers affected by the flight cancellations have been handled properly.

“Affected passengers’ concerns were found to be handled properly by Cebu Pacific in compliance with the Air Passenger Bill of Rights. Thus, the imposition of penalties was not considered at present,” the DOTr said in a statement.

Instead, the CAB directed Cebu Pacific to submit within 30 days a concrete plan stating measures it will take to prevent further inconvenience to passengers.

“We are hoping that Cebu Pacific will immediately comply with the order to resolve this issue. Hindi na natin maibabalik pa ‘yung dinulot na inconvenience these cancellations have caused. But moving forward, we aim to have more substantial actions so that our passengers will not have to suffer,” DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

The air transport regulator also recommended that a stern warning be given to Cebu Pacific to exercise diligence necessary in maintaining stability and reliability of air transport service to the riding public.

The DOTr said that during its hearings held on May 2 and May 6, Cebu Pacific said that it was forced to cancel hundreds of its flights due to ongoing efforts to improve on-time performance (OTP) as its aircraft takes 49 to 66 minutes before being able to take off.

READ: CAB looks into Cebu Pacific flight cancellations

The flight cancellations will “create space” in their flight and crew inventory, “make way for operational recovery,” and “minimize rolling delays,” the Cebu Pacific noted.

CAB also found that the airliner had a “crewing problem,” as it concluded that “the additional time spent by the on-duty crew on the tarmac consumes the working hours and reserves that were supposed to be utilized at a much later schedule.”

While the CAB understands the cancellations as a recuperative measure for the airline, it pointed out that it cannot be made at the expense of the riding public.

“We want to remind airlines to consider the welfare of its passengers by avoiding short notice. The people have paid for these flights and have made their schedules accordingly,” CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said.

“While we understand the corrective measures being made to improve OTP, maximum effort should be done so that these measures are not at the expense of our passengers,” he added.

For the DOTr’s part, Secretary Tugade has directed the daily publication of airline OTP in major airports nationwide.

The DOTr noted Cebu Pacific’s OTP was pushed to an average of 51.16%, with lows of around 30% in March due to the hour-long stay on the tarmac. (with details from Joan Nano)

DOTr, DOLE to provide jobs to repatriated OFWs affected by COVID-19 pandemic

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 8, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Transportation (DOTr), along with other government agencies, has signed a memorandum that would provide job opportunities for repatriated overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

During the 2021 Migrant Workers’ Day celebration on Monday (June 7), DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade and Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) with the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide OFWs displaced by the pandemic with employment opportunities in the DOTr.

“Our repatriated OFWs who are out of work will be able to work under the DOTr at narito sila sa sarili nilang bansa. They no longer need to go out of the country because work is here at home. Second, we will not be looking elsewhere in getting the needed workforce to finish various infrastructure projects,” he said.

Under the said agreement, the DOTr will provide OWWA with a list of vacant positions and skills required where an OFW can apply for work. These include projects under the Build Build Build Program.

Tugade reported that 2,000 jobs will be made available under the PNR Clark Phase 1 Project.

He also said that the department will not only prioritize hiring OFWs, but also displaced public utility drivers and conductors once the project becomes operational. AAC

DOTr inaugurates upgraded Kalibo International Airport

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 4, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr), along with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) inaugurated the completed development of Kalibo International Airport (KIA) on Friday (June 4).

Dubbed as the gateway to the majestic Boracay Island, DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the KIA will be able to accommodate more passengers and help boost the economy and tourism in Aklan.

Tugade said the airport’s International Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) now has the capacity to handle 406 passengers from the previous 344 passengers volume, while the Domestic PTB has a total of 400 passenger capacity.

He added that the finished upgrades can generate local employment. At least 236 local construction workers were employed during the expansion works of the KIA’s International PTB.

“Mas lumaki na ang covered exterior lobby para sa mga pasaherong pumipila sa labas ng terminal. Mas pinalaki na rin ang pre-departure area, upang komportableng makaupo ang mga kababayan nating nag-aabang ng kanilang flight. Mas malaki na rin ang space para sa Customs, Immigration at Pre-Screening ng mga pasahero. Mas pinalaki rin ang espasyo para sa airline check-in counters upang makatulong sa pag-cater sa mas maraming biyahero,” Tugade said.

(The covered exterior lobby was expanded for passengers queuing outside the terminal. The departure area was also extended to accommodate more passengers. There is also more space in Customs, Immigration, and Pre-Screening. The space for airline check-in counters has also been expanded to cater to more passengers)

The Kalibo International Airport is an integral part of the regional transport infrastructure development under the massive “Build, Build, Build” program. AAC

DOTr urges PUV drivers, operators to strictly enforce protocols vs COVID-19

Aileen Cerrudo   •   June 2, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Transportation (DOTr) has urged public utility vehicle (PUV) drivers and operators to enforce strict enforce health protocols to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

Transportation Secretary Art Tugade issued the reminder after receiving reports that the enforcement of health protocols has been lax in some public transports.

“Their participation in this fight is crucial as they are the ones on the frontlines. They should not just ensure that their vehicles are sanitized all the time, but must also be constantly reminding passengers of the need to observe basic health protocols,” Tugade said in a statement.

The DOT Secretary also reminded passengers to also observe minimum health protocols such as wearing face masks and face shields while inside the PUVs. Passengers should also observe physical distancing and not eating or talking while aboard public vehicles.

Meanwhile, Tugade reiterated his order to the Land Transportation Office (LTO), the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB), and the Inter-Agency Council for Traffic (I-ACT) to intensify their operations against PUV operators and drivers who will fail to enforce health protocols.

“Failure by the driver and the operator to enforce these health and safety protocols could possibly lead to the suspension or revocation of their franchise, as these can be considered breaches of their franchise conditions,” he said. -AAC

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