The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said Tuesday that Cebu Pacific Air faces “full range” of sanctions – from fines to revocation of its franchise – due to the inexcusable number of delayed flights and high absenteeism among its staff during the holiday rush.
In a statement, Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya said that the investigating panel, composed of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB), the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), and the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), had misgivings about the airline’s explanation for the irregularities that affected thousands of passengers.
“What is clear from the panel’s initial report is that Cebu Pacific had an appalling number of delayed flights from December 24 to 26. Cebu Pacific is blaming air traffic congestion, but this does not appear to be supported by the facts,” Abaya said.
“Six flights arrived late at NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) in the early morning of December 24 alone. There was no congestion yet at that time. These incidents of tardiness caused a domino effect of delays throughout the rest of the day. And yet Cebu Pacific claims that it was congestion that caused the mess,” he said.
Based on the investigation, Cebu Pacific had a total of 20 cancelled flights and 288 delayed flights at NAIA Terminal 3 from December 24 to 26.
Abaya further noted that in the morning of December 26, there were only two check-in counters for domestic flights and more counters were opened at 11 a.m., only after CAB and MIAA intervened.
“The flying public deserves much better service than that. We sympathize with those who lost precious hours with their families and loved ones on Christmas, and we will see to it that Cebu Pacific will answer for any possible mismanagement,” he said.