Congressman RENE L. RELAMPAGOS
First District, Province of Bohol
22 January 2015
Rep. Relampagos Calls for Improved Air Travel Service
Travel through air during the last holiday season has given more stress than joy. This is due to the innumerable delayed and cancelled flights not to mention the long queus at the airport counters, specifically of the Cebu Pacific Air.
For this reason, the House of Representatives Committee on Transportation, under Rep. Cesar Sarmiento, called a meeting on January 21, 2015 to discuss the issue in aid of legislation.
In the said meeting, no less than Cebu Pacific Chief Executive Officer Lance Gokongwei expressed his apologies to the fiasco that happened last December 2014. He cited inclement weather conditions, aircraft technical issues and absence of personnel as causes of the delays.
Rep. Rene L. Relampagos of the first district of Bohol, and Chair of the House Committee on Tourism, attended the meeting and expressed his concern as the matter also affects the tourism industry. “Many of the travelers during the Christmas season are those who wanted to take advantage of the long vacation break expanding to around two weeks. We have to understand that these holiday vacations have been carefully planned and the delays and inconvenience of travel doesn’t speak well of a country who boasts of tourism as a major economic force,” he said. “We are not even talking here of travelers who just wanted to go home and spend the holidays with their families and loved ones.”
Among the issues discussed were overbooking and the non-utility of the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport (DMIA) located at Clark, Pampanga which would have easily decongest air traffic in Manila. To date, the DMIA representative said, it only services around one million passengers in 2014 yet the airport could have easily handled around 4-5 million passengers per year.
“As we are aggressively pursuing tourism marketing campaigns of ‘Visit Philippines 2015’ and ‘Visit Bohol 2015,’ there is really a need to improve all tourism industry service providers starting from the transportation sector. All challenges and alternative solutions must be conscientiously considered in order to ensure the proper handling of passengers, including their security,” Cong. Relampagos said. “This Cebu Pacific issue should never happen again,” he emphasized.
Earlier, the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) strongly reprimanded and fined Cebu Pacific Air in the amount of P52.211 million. According to data, the budget carrier had a total of 20 cancelled flights and 288 delayed flights at the NAIA3 from December 24 to 26.
Present also in the said meeting were representatives from CAB, International Air Transport Association, Ninoy Aquino International Airport, DMIA, Civil Aeronautics Authority of the Philippines, Department of Transportation and Communications and Department of Tourism, among others.
RENE L. RELAMPAGOS