The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said on Wednesday that budget carrier Cebu Pacific violated the “Passenger Bill of Rights” during reported incidents of overbooking during the Christmas holiday rush.
DOTC Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya told reporters he saw numerous violations, including failure of the airline to pay for meals and accommodation of passengers whose flights were delayed or cancelled.
“I believe we should increase the penalty of P5,000 set in 1950”, he said, “It is no longer a deterrent for a billion peso company. “
Cebu Pacific has been given up to yesterday, January 7, to submit all documents to CAB, MIAA and Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines to explain what happened.
On December 29, CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla in a meeting with the Cebu Pacific representatives explained the need for the airline to provide assistance to passengers. He said that under Chapter 5 of Air Passenger Bill of Rights, Air Carriers should provide Customer Service Representatives who can address common problems, such as arranging for meals, and hotel rooms for stranded passengers, settling denied boarding compensation, arranging luggage resolutions, and settling other routine claims or complaints on the spot.
Arcilla added that this was on top of his reminder that Cebu Pacific check on their oursourced personnel.
On Tuesday, 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.
The Transportation and Communications chief leads a government panel investigating widespread complaints against the airline.
Because he doubted the carrier’s explanations, the panel decided to gather ts own data such as the number of dislocated passengers, routes affected and total capacity versus seats sold and flown to determine overbooking.