Authorities will look into the chaos at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) when hundreds of passengers on Christmas Day raged over flight delays and cancellations.
The Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said it was closely monitoring the situation at NAIA’s Terminal 3, which until Friday was crammed with passengers trying to catch their flights.
“We have closely monitored numerous flight cancellations and cases of overbooking during this peak season which have caused inconveniences to the public. [DOTC] Secretary [Emilio Joseph] Abaya coordinated with aviation authorities and airlines yesterday [Thursday] to open more counters and deploy more personnel to assist passengers until the situation stabilizes,” DOTC spokesman Michael Arthur Sagcal said in a text message on Friday.
The check-in counters of Cebu Pacific, one of the country’s leading carriers, were swamped by angry passengers who missed their flights or had to wait for hours before they could board their plane.
“The CAB (Civil Aeronautics Board), MIAA (Manila International Airport Authority), and CAAP (Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines) will convene on Monday to investigate these issues and determine if Cebu Pacific is liable for any violations and whether tighter regulations are necessary,” Sagcal said.
In a television interview, CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said the agency is “still validating the facts on the ground, whether it is really a result of overbooking because our monitors are saying there are quite a number of issues like there were fewer people at the counters. But we monitor overbooking, and require airlines to report to us the number of overbooked passengers.”
Most of the flights that have been delayed and cancelled were bound for the Visayas and Mindanao.
Carriers are allowed to overbook flights by about 10 percent to compensate for the “no-show” passengers.
In a statement, Cebu Pacific said it experienced “consequential flight delays due to air traffic congestion, compounded by [bad]weather in some regions, which have resulted [in]some flights being cancelled.”
“Our most sincere apologies for what happened,” the airline added.
The airline said it is working double-time to re-accommodate affected passengers on the soonest available flights.
The passengers, it added, could also rebook flights within 30 days from the original departure date, or request a refund.
Cebu Pacific operates a fleet of 52 aircraft.