• CAB, Cebu Pacific face investigation

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    LAWMAKERS on Sunday called for an investigation of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and Cebu Pacific for the flight cancelations and delays suffered by travelers during the Christmas holidays.

    On Saturday, Cebu Pacific offered a refund to passengers affected by flight cancelations and delays between December 23 and January 5 after chaos erupted at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA)’s Terminal 3.

    But Rep. Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna party-list said the refund is not enough because it was just a ploy “to pacify complaining passengers.”

    “What should be done is to impose sanctions on airlines that foul up,” he added.

    “While it is good that the CAB will already start their investigation to get to some of the details of the continued inconvenience of airline passengers, I think that the CAB should also be probed for not doing its duty to regulate these airlines and protect airline passengers,” Colmenares said.

    Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento of Western Samar, vice chairman of the House Committee on Transportation, said CAB should investigate Cebu Pacific to find out if the airline is complying with the air passenger bill of rights.

    He added that the aeronautics board should “submit recommendations to improve the carrier’s ground service as a template to all the players in the industry.”

    Colmenares said he will file a resolution seeking an investigation when Congress resumes session on January 5.

    He noted that in a privileged speech that he delivered on December 16, he decried excessive air fares, delays and dismal service of airline companies as well as CAB for failing to protect passengers.

    Colmenares said his bill will address queues, delayed and canceled flights, overbooking as well as “expensive” rebooking fees and penalties. He also noted that when canceling or changing schedules, the airlines do not give refunds to passengers.

    “Another problem particularly for Cebu Pacific passengers is that they offer a deceptively low initial base fare but in the end the fare shoots up due to big tax and surcharges that are even higher than that of Philippine Airlines (PAL). They also charge passengers with a web administration fee that is ridiculous,” the lawmaker added.

    In many instances, he said, airlines do not use the passenger tube even if passengers have paid for its use thus making it difficult for the elderly and the sick as they have to go down the tarmac.

    “It would be better if the committee on transportation would just call for a motu propio hearing to probe these issues during the break but if not, then I hope that it would immediately be scheduled on the resumption of sessions so that these airlines would improve their services,” Colmenares added.

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