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

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, May 15th, 2019

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)

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DOTr’s Tugade meets with Tolentino on emergency powers bid vs PH traffic woes

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Arthur Tugade on Wednesday met with Senator Francis Tolentino to discuss plans on refiling an emergency powers bill to solve the country’s traffic woes, particularly in Metro Manila.

Tugade said he met with Tolentino to tackle the measure that has been pending in both chambers of Congress for more than two years.

The transportation chief said he will do his best to convince lawmakers to pass the bill, which he sees as a vital solution to the country’s perennial problem on traffic.

“‘Wag po nating pabaunan ng duda ‘yung deliberasyon, pababaunan ko yan ng kaliwanagan sa pag-uusap. Naniniwala ako na kung ang mga mag-uusap ay may kaliwanagan, magkakaroon ng kooperasyon, pwede po nating mapadali ito,” he told reporters in an interview.

(Let us not cast doubt on the deliberation, I will shed light on its importance during discussion. I believe than when it is tackled by people who understand it, there will be cooperation. This can be fast-tracked.)

Tolentino earlier said he will push for the emergency powers bid once the incoming 18th Congress convenes on July 22.

The lawmaker said his version of the bill focuses on strengthening the mandate of concerned agencies and local government units to address the traffic crisis.

“Nalagyan natin ng ibang detalye na wala dati, for instance ‘yung working hours, ‘yung adjustment ng oras ng pagpasok at yung role ng mga local government units,” he said.

(We have placed there details that are not present in the previous bill, for instance the working hours, adjustment of working hours and the role of local government units.)

The bill seeking to ease the worsening traffic situation was first filed after Duterte said in his 2016 State of the Nation Address that traffic problems should be legitimately addressed if Congress could accord him emergency powers.

He eventually gave up on his plan after some lawmakers said that the emergency powers might be used for corruption.

Under the proposed Traffic Crisis Act, previously filed in the 17th Congress, the Transportation Secretary will be designated as Traffic Chief with power of control and supervision over land transportation agencies. He will also have the authority to harmonize and enforce all traffic rules and regulations to implement a unified traffic system throughout each of the metropolitan areas and implement programs that will have significant impact on addressing the traffic crisis.

The bill was approved on third and final reading of the House of Representatives while its Senate version reached the plenary but was not approved until the 17th Congress adjourned.

Although there is a need to resolve the worsening traffic woes in the country, the DOTr said that once the bill is refiled, they will not ask the president to certify it as urgent.

“Kung magkasundo po kami sa mga datos at detalye, hindi po ba mas magandang pumunta kami kay pangulo na handa na yung detalye kaysa blanket na hihingin na wala pang detalye?  Hindi ho ba mas magandang proseso yung ganun?” he said. (with details from Nel Maribojoc)

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DOTr expects to install new MRT-3 rails starting November

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Wednesday, July 10th, 2019

Courtesy: DOTr MRT-3 Facebook page

MANILA, Philippines – More than 4,000 pieces of brand new rails for the Metro Rail Transit line 3 (MRT-3) have been delivered to the Philippines, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) said on Wednesday.

In a Facebook post, the DOTr said the rails, each measuring 18 meters long, have arrived on Tuesday at the Port of Manila from Japan. The delivery was made months ahead of the expected delivery date, the agency added.

TALAGANG GOOD ANG MORNING!DUMATING NA sa Pilipinas ang buong shipment ng mga BAGONG RILES para sa MRT-3! Dumaong ang…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Tuesday, 9 July 2019

From the Port of Manila, the Japan-made rails were transported to the Tracks Laydown Yard near the Parañaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (PITX).

The DOTr said its installation onto the MRT-3 mainline is scheduled to begin in November if the rest of tracks are delivered in October as expected.

To avoid disruption in the line’s daily train service, the agency said, rail replacement works will only take place during non-operating hours.

The DOTr expects the new rails to reduce excess vibration of trains which cause damage to its electrical and mechanical component, and later leads to glitches or train breakdown.

The procurement of new rails is part of the ongoing comprehensive rehabilitation of the MRT-3 to bring back the railway’s high-grade design condition, according to the DOTr.

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DOTR says 17 airport projects completed in Duterte’s first 3 years

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Tuesday, July 9th, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – Seventeen commercial airport projects have been completed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s first three years in office, the Department of Transportation (DOTr) reported on Tuesday (July 9).

In a statement, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade underscored the importance of advancing air connectivity throughout the country and with the world, as the DOTr’s Aviation and Airports Sector and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) completed 17 commercial airport projects, with 28 more ongoing, in the first half of Duterte’s term.

“Connectivity and mobility in transport are key components in socio-economic development. By building new airports and rehabilitating existing ones, the transportation sector contributes to both regional and national progress,” Tugade said.

17 AIRPORT PROJECTS COMPLETED IN FIRST HALF OF PRRD’S TERM; 28 MORE ONGOINGAdvancing air connectivity throughout the…

Posted by Department of Transportation – Philippines on Monday, 8 July 2019

Tugade said that during the first half of Duterte’s term, two new international airports have been built, namely, the Lal-Lo International Airport in Cagayan, and the country’s first eco-airport, the Bohol-Panglao International Airport.

Fifteen other existing gateways have also been upgraded, two of which are international and thirteen domestic.

Under rehabilitated international airports, the Mactan-Cebu International Airport (MCIA) opened its new Passenger Terminal Building (PTB) last year, boosting annual capacity to 13.5 million passengers. The airport was hailed as the world’s friendliest resort airport.

The Puerto Princesa Airport’s PTB was also expanded, and its runway extended to accommodate larger aircraft.

The DOTr added that domestic airports have not been left behind because last July 5, 2019, Ormoc Airport opened new facilities, including a renovated PTB and a widened runway. The new facilities were inaugurated by the President himself.

“Additionally, infrastructure developments for the domestic airports of Virac, Marinduque, Tuguegarao, San Vicente, and Busuanga in Luzon; Maasin, Tacloban, and Catarman in the Visayas; and Ipil, Camiguin, and Siargao in Mindanao, have been accomplished,” the agency said.

The DOTr, along with CAAP, said it is also accelerating the ongoing infrastructure development in 27 commercial airports and one military air base. The government is also set to build one more international airport, it further said.

The department likewise reported that rehabilitation works for the terminal 2 of the Philippines’ main gateway, the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) continues.

“These include the expansion of departure check-in hall and arrival baggage area; architectural improvements in passenger movement areas; upgrade of aerobridge areas and elevated roadway; new glass wall panels and partitions; upgrade of air-conditioning system, power, lightings, fire protection, and electronics and communications systems; installation of an improved flight information display system and a new public address system; and waterproofing works for building exterior, among others,” the DOTr said.

As the NAIA rehabilitation continues, the government said it is also working on decongesting the main gateway through complementary infrastructure development.

“Additional facilities at the Sangley Airport in Cavite are now under 24/7 construction to meet the November 2019 deadline of the President for the military air base to commence general aviation and turboprop operations,” the DOTr said.

Construction is also ongoing for the second PTB of the Clark International Airport (CRK).

The department said its expansion is seen to increase the CRK’s overall capacity to 12.2 million passengers annually. An additional runway is also set for construction.

To further aid in the long-term decongestion of NAIA, the DOTr said plans are underway for the proposed New Manila International Airport (NMIA) in Bulacan. Bidding for the project will open on July 31.

Meanwhile, the Bicol International Airport is now more than halfway complete. The airport is expected to accommodate two million passengers per year, and is targeted for completion in 2020, the agency said.

International airports in Davao, General Santos, Zamboanga, Iloilo, Kalibo, and Laoag are also undergoing improvements.

Development projects continue, as well, for domestic airports in Busuanga, Cauayan, Naga, and Tuguegarao in Luzon; Bacolod-Silay, Calbayog, Catbalogan, Dumaguete, and Tacloban in the Visayas; and Bukidnon, Ipil, Laguinduingan, Mati, M’lang, Ozamiz, Sanga-Sanga, Siargao, and Surigao in Mindanao.

Aside from developing the nation’s airports, major programs and initiatives have been launched to further uplift aviation and airports services, such as the establishment of new Communications, Navigation, Surveillance / Air Traffic Management System (CNS/ATM) that now covers 100% of Philippine airspace, and the night-rating of 15 more commercial airports to further ease decongestion in major gateways.

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