Sunday, April 22, 2012

Airlines told: Go slow on commercialism

Sunday, 22 April 2012 18:07
Manuel T. Cayon / Reporter

 DAVAO CITY—Executives of the government’s aviation regulatory agencies admonished airline companies in the country to slow down on their commercialism to address their inefficiency that has turned many air travelers grumbling and complaining.

“I think there should be an end to commercialism,” Dr. Abner Bondoc, chief financial officer of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap), told Filipino-operated airline companies which attended the First Equator Asia Air Access Forum and Airlines CEO Summit held at a downtown hotel here last week.

He said that some reasons put up by airlines to explain delayed or canceled flights have not been satisfactory to the griping passengers, who also complained of not being attended to by airline personnel.

Bondoc was replying to an inquiry by a travel and tour operator, who herself said she was angry why they were kept waiting for explanation why their flight was delayed by four hours. 

“If these things keep happening, how can we even encourage air travel in our region,” the tour operator said.

Bondoc said that he also failed to attend a dinner appointment on the eve of the forum in this city due to the delayed flight from Manila. He said his relative also complained of a canceled flight in Bicol.

“It’s not about congestion of the airports, but some issues must also be addressed at the capacity of the airlines,” said Carmelo Arcilla, acting executive director of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).

Arcilla disclosed that “there’s a spate of complaints [of delayed and canceled flights] and the list is getting long.”

“We are investigating it now,” he said.

Bondoc said that the Caap would also meet airline companies to inquire also into the complaints of tour operators that the former were overcharging travelers “with a lot of charges and surcharges.”

He also told an airline executive who inquired about the status of airport personnel doing overtime jobs, that the owners of his airline failed to pay the collectibles due the CAB.

“To be candid about it, because of this, the take-home pay of the employees can’t even take them home.”

“Airlines should be encouraged to reduce charges and to work together to [improve air] traffic,” Arcilla added.

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