CAB won’t fine Cebu Pacific over series of flight cancellations

The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) will not impose fines against local air carrier Cebu Pacific over its flight cancellations from April 28 to May 10.

Cebu Pacific was able to handle properly the concerns of passengers that were affected by the cancellations, according to the Department of Transportation (DOTr).

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

The CAB has ordered Cebu Pacific to submit within 30 days a concrete plan of corrective measures in its operations to prevent further inconvenience to passengers.

It likewise recommended to the DOTr that a stern warning be given to the airline to exercise due diligence in maintaining stability and reliability of air transport service to the riding public.

“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 (We will not be able to reverse the inconvenience these cancellations caused). But moving forward, we aim to have more substantial actions so that our passengers will not have to suffer,” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said.

An investigation conducted by the CAB earlier this month showed that Cebu Pacific cancelled its flights to improve its on-time performance (OTP).

Cebu Pacific disclosed that its aircrafts take at least 49 to 66 minutes before taking off during the hearings of the CAB held on May 2 and 6.

The hour-long stay on the tarmac was observed to have pushed Cebu Pacific’s OTP to an average of 51.16 percent, with lows of around 30 percent in March.

“This record, according to Cebu Pacific during the hearings, impelled the airline to finally come up with the decision to cancel flights. It said that the flight cancellations will “create space” in their flight and crew inventory, “make way for operational recovery,” and “minimize rolling delays.” The airline made clear that the factors adversely affecting its OTP are largely within its internal operational sphere,” the DOTr said.

Furthermore, Cebu Pacific was found to have “crewing problems” as the additional time spent by on-duty crew on the tarmac consumes the working hours and reserves that were supposed to be utilized at a much later schedule.

Cebu Pacific applied for cancellation of 172 one-way domestic flights from 28 April through 10 May 2019 equivalent to about 14 flights out of its 400 daily domestic flights. (PNA)