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

Robie de Guzman   •   May 15, 2019   •   1345

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)

First set of Dalian trains to hit MRT-3 tracks Tuesday

Robie de Guzman   •   October 15, 2019

The third set of MRT-3 trains that were purchased from Chinese firm CCRC Dalian

MANILA, Philippines – The first set of China-made Dalian trains will be deployed at the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) on Tuesday night, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) announced.

“Starting today, 15 October 2019, one Dalian train set (equivalent to three train coaches) will hit the tracks of MRT-3 mainline during evening off-peak hours, from 8:30PM to 10:30PM,” the DOTr said in a statement posted on Twitter.

The DOTr said this development comes after MRT-3’s Japanese maintenance provider, Sumitomo Corporation-Mitsubishi Heavy Industries – TES Philippines signed a consent for the limited deployment on one Dalian train set.

The said consent, according to the DOTr, indicates that the train set will be deployed for an initial trial period until the maintenance provider begins its rail replacement works in November 2019.

“Currently, three Dalian train (9 train coaches) sets have already completed the necessary commissioning and validation tests including the 150-hour run. Each Dalian train set has a three-car configuration that can carry 1,050 passengers per trip,” the DOTr said.

Each train set can carry up to 1,050 passengers.

Around 48 Dalian trains were purchased by the Aquino administration for P3.8 billion but most of it have not been used over doubts of its compatibility with the current MRT tracks.

Its deployment was delayed as the MRT-3 management had to wait for the consent of Sumitomo Corp. which maintains and rehabilitates the line.

Poe wants P27M fund for road safety programs

Robie de Guzman   •   October 3, 2019

Senator Grace Poe ( EPA/MARK R. CRISTINO)

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Grace Poe on Wednesday said she would move for the reinstatement of the P27-million fund for road safety programs, logistics, and equipment during the 2020 budget hearing of the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

During the hearing of the Senate committee on public services on bills seeking to declare every third week of November as World Day of Remembrance for road crash victims, Transportation Undersecretary Mark Richmund de Leon revealed that the 2020 DOTr budget has no appropriation for road safety programs.

He said the road safety fund was lodged in the motor vehicle users’ charge that was modified last year.

“Unfortunately, ni piso, walang pondo (for road safety),” he said.

Poe, who chairs the committee, lamented the absence of the road safety fund and vowed to push for its allocation to purchase breathalyzers which are used to test the alcohol level of motorists.

“It has to be funded, it has to be a priority kasi prevention and safety are paramount in the transportation system that we have…Tingin ko naman, magagawan ng paraan kasi buhay ang poprotektahan,” Poe said in a separate interview.

In the same hearing, families of victims of car crash told the panel that a number of cases involving vehicular accidents have been dismissed due to lack of evidence such as proof that the driver was drunk because there was no test conducted.

“‘Yung ‘pag test kung lasing ang isang driver, kasama ‘yan sa road safety, pati ‘yung drivers’ education, at iba pang programa, kaya nga diumano mga P27 million ang budget na kailangan nila rito. Bukas, magkakaroon ng pagdinig ng DOTr para sa budget, gusto ko sanang ma-reinstate ang programa na ito,” Poe said.

Meanwhile, Poe also presided over the committee’s third technical working group which seeks to formulate a transportation master plan to alleviate the plight of commuters and motorists.

The senator said that the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) reported that the project list drafted in 2014 containing priority infrastructures is still being updated and completed.

The list that will come from various implementing government agencies will form the Roadmap 2.

Poe also said that NEDA reported another plan called the Philippine Transportation System Master Plan that would include projects outside the Greater Capital Region.

The plan is still being drafted and is expected to be completed in December.

House committee approves creation of Traffic Crisis Inter-Agency Management Council

Maris Federez   •   September 25, 2019

A general view of the traffic along Epifanio de los Santos Avenue (EDSA) during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Simulation Lanes rehearsal in Manila, Philippines, 09 November 2015. EPA/MARK R. CRISTINO

The House Committee on Transportation on Wednesday (Sept. 25) approved the House Resolution No. 353 which seeks the creation of the Traffic Crisis Inter-Agency Management Council.

This, even with the Executive department’s decision to withdraw its earlier request for emergency powers to solve the country’s worsening traffic problem.

The resolution targets to consolidate and harmonize the national and local government agencies and units in their policies on traffic and transportation.

The fast approval of the resolution was made possible because of the support of the agencies present in the hearing, such as the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), the Land Transportation Franchising Regulatory Board (LTFRB), the Land Transportations Office (LTO), and the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

“Bawat isa mayroong role na makakatulong sa pagpapaluwag ng ating trapiko. Pati yung konstruksyon and repair ng ating road facilities. Tapos yung traffic sign. Tapos pagtutugma tugma naman ng probisyon ng mga traffic ordinances ng mga local government [Each one has its role that will help decongest the traffic. Even the construction and the repair of road facilities. Then the traffic signs. Then the matching of provisions of traffic ordinances of local government units],” LTO’s Asec. Edgar Galvante said.

Nevertheless, MMDA General Manager Jojo Garcia said the creation of the said council and the boundaries of its powers must be studied very well so as not to have it overlapped with existing government agencies, such as the Inter-Agency Council on Traffic (I-ACT).

 “We fully support the bill as long as there be no overlapping of functions. kasi nga mas magulo pagka sabi nga nila mas madaming kusinero mas magugulo yung niluluto [because it will be more chaotic, as they say, too many cooks will spoil the broth],” Garcia said.

House Committee on Transportation chairman Samar Rep. Edgar Sarmiento, however, said the council will be more expedient in solving the traffic problem with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) at the helm, just as what had been the result of the clearing operations that were held nationwide.

“Ang pinakamadali talagang ahensya na humawak ay DILG kasi hawak nila ang local government units. parang sila dapat ang nagrerenda [The best agency to handle it is the DILG as it already handles the local government units. Like they should be the one policing] to harmonize the different policies,” Sarmiento stressed.

Following the resolution’s approval, a technical working group will be formed to discuss its details before it is elevated to and voted upon in the plenary. (from the report of Vincent Arboleda) /mbmf

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