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DOTr probes Cebu Pacific flight cancellations

CEBU PACIFIC is facing an investigation by the Department of Transportation (DOTr) after the budget airliner had cancelled many of its flights.

DOTr Secretary Arthur Tugade said the probe will determine if the cancellations are caused by internal operating conditions of Cebu Pacific or the structure and conditions of airports that serve their flights. “I have talked with CAB (Civil Aeronautics Board), MIAA (Manila International Airport Authority) and CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) to look into the matter. While we would like to understand the present predicament of Cebu Pacific in relation to their internal requirements, they should equally understand our mandate of making sure that the traveling public is safe, secure and convenient,” Tugade said.

Tugade said they expect to complete the investigation within two weeks. “We need to look into various factors such as plane turnaround time, number of operating planes, the procedures being implemented on our taxiways and runways, et cetera. We will provide remedies to whatever shortcomings we have,” he said.

He said Cebu Pacific was reported to have reduced their flights amid its current operating conditions to ensure the safety of their passengers. Tugade said he had met with aviation officials before the Holy Week to address the issue of on-time performance (OTP) of all airlines which determines the timely take-off and departure of their flights.

He directed the officials to submit daily reports of OTPs of airlines to determine causes of flight cancellations and delays. “What caused the delay? Is it the airline or the airport? Once we do that, we have to address this all predicated on assuring safety, punctuality and convenience of the riding public. OTP is not only predicated on airport structure and procedure. It also addresses their own internal number of operating carriers,” Tugade said.

Cebu Pacific said it will reduce around 10 flights a day this May amid ongoing disruptions of its operations while passengers experience extended delays and some on the spot cancellations. “For the month of May, CEB will be reducing approximately 10 flights a day out of daily operations of 400 flights.

CEB is currently reviewing adjustments required for June and beyond to create space in its schedule for operational recovery, minimize rolling delays and give passengers the chance to make alternate travel plans, Cebu Pacific has to temporarily reduce the number of its flights given the current operating conditions, particularly in its Manila hub,” the airline said in a disclosure to the stock exchange.

The airline has announced the cancellation of a total of 116 domestic flights this month. But ABS-CBN reported that many of airline’s pilots and flight crew had resigned or working now for other airline companies that pay double or triple of what they had been getting from Cebu Pacific. It said many of the Cebu Pacific’s pilots and crew had to work longer hours due to the airline’s additional flights and lack of manpower to handle such huge passenger demand. (Aerol John Pateña, PNA. With a report from the Mindanao Examiner.)


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