Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) has assured travelers that the company’s issue on unpaid navigational charges with the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) will soon be resolved with dispatch.
“Philippine Airlines assures the riding public that negotiations are ongoing with the government to resolve with dispatch the issue of unpaid navigational fees and other charges to ensure the flag carrier’s continued and unhampered operations,” PAL said in a statement over the weekend.
“After a series of exchanges of communications, PAL remains optimistic that the matter will be settled in the spirit of national interest,” it added.
Last Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte warned tycoon Lucio Tan, head of PAL, to settle his liabilities to the government within 10 days, or else its hub in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 will be shut down.
PAL has been using the Terminal 2 of NAIA exclusively since 1999.
The Department of Transportation (DOTr) said PAL’s owes CAAP P6.97 billion and Manila International Airport Authority, P322.1 million that were incurred years before the Duterte administration.
“Upon instruction of Department of Transportation Secretary Arthur P. Tugade, letters have been sent to PAL as early as August 2016 demanding full payment of all unpaid charges,” it said.
According to the DOTr, the flag carrier requested to discuss the possibility of paying its arrears in seven years but the request was denied.
“Final demand for full payment of all unpaid charges has been sent to PAL, preparatory to the filing of appropriate legal action in order to protect the interest of the government,” it said.
PAL said its representatives regularly meet with CAAP representatives to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
“The PAL representatives have been meeting with government counterparts to address the CAAP issue on said fees with the mutual objective of resolving it at the soonest possible time,” it added.
PAL earlier said it has offered the government to pay an amount larger than its incurred unpaid charges but the government is yet to respond to the offer.
REICELENE N. IGNACIO