CEB ‘reviews options’ after P52-M fine


Budget carrier Cebu Pacific (CEB) said it is reviewing the documents from the Civil Aeronautics Board and evaluating its options after it was penalized with a fine of P52 million for operational lapses that resulted in dozens of flight delays and nearly 300 cancellations during the Christmas rush.

“We have received CAB Resolution 4 (BM 01-01-12-2015), and are currently in the process of reviewing the document, and its attendant legal ramifications. We note that there may be some matters of fact requiring clarification, and are evaluating all our options accordingly,” Cebu Pacific said in a statement.

CAB on Monday asked the carrier to pay a fine of P52 million for operational “lapses” last December 23 to December 26, 2014.

“After considering all available data and arguments, the Board concluded that the main culprit was Cebu Pacific’s operational lapses and mishandling of passengers.

The Board therefore issued a strong reprimand and imposed a fine against Cebu Pacific in the amount of P52,211,00,” CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla said in a text message on Monday.

According to Arcilla, the Board “also required Cebu Pacific to establish and maintain appropriate service standards for all its personnel, organic and outsourced, especially those manning the check-in counters.”

He said the fine was based on a finding by the Board “that Cebu Pacific’s operational lapses and passenger mishandling constitutes a breach of the basic condition of its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity, i.e., to provide proper, suitable, convenient, safe, adequate and reliable air transportation services.”

The CAB Board on Monday heard the issue pertaining to Cebu Pacific’s botched handling of passengers over the Christmas holidays. The hearing was attended by Cebu Pacific representatives, T3 manager Octavio Lina and Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) assistant general manager Ricardo Medalla.

Cebu Pacific clung to its arguments that while it committed lapses in the handling of passengers, the main contributory factor to the disruption was air traffic congestion and terminal infrastructure deficiencies.

On January 6, Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya brushed aside Cebu Pacific’s claims that “congestion” caused the flight delays and cancellations during the Christmas rush, noting that “tardiness” should be blamed for the mess.

Because he doubted the carrier’s explanations, the panel was prompted to gather its own data such as the number of dislocated passengers, routes affected and total capacity versus seats sold and flown to determine overbooking.

The panel is composed of the CAB, MIAA and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.

The CAB has authority to impose fines and suspensions and even to revoke a franchise if warranted.

Earlier, Jorenz Tañada, Cebu Pacific vice president for corporate affairs, said in a text message that they will cooperate with the DOTC in the conduct of the investigation.


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