MANILA, Philippines – The P52.1-million fine slapped on carrier Cebu Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) will not be disbursed to passengers affected by the airlines’ mismanagement of flight schedules during the holiday rush, but will instead be given to the national treasury, in compliance with Republic Act 776, the Civil Aeronautics Act of the Philippines.
The announcement was made yesterday by CAB executive director Carmelo Arcilla, who said that “under the law, such a penalty upon collection will go to the national treasury.”
Arcilla explained that the fine imposed by the CAB on budget airline is considered a penalty for non-compliance with stipulations governing the carrier’s permit to operate.
He added that the air regulatory board imposed the penalty to oblige Cebu Pacific to carry out the obligations mandated in accordance with its permit, even as he also clarified that the CAB no authority to decide on compensation for passengers inconvenienced by flight delays and cancellations on the days of Dec. 24-26.
“If the airlines fail to satisfy the claims of the passengers in accordance with the rules, passengers may seek the assistance of the CAB in the enforcement of the rules and/or go to court to obtain redress,” Arcilla said, pointing out the options of those affected by the apparent inefficiency of the carrier.
On the CAB’s end, Arcilla said that it is “in charge of promoting and support an adequate, reliable and efficient air transportation system that is conducive to the convenience of the public.”
The board decided to fine Cebu Pacific after it had received thousands of complaints from the 10,400 passengers affected by the carrier’s cancellation of 20 flights, and the delay of 288 flights from the period of December 24-26. A P5,000 fine was imposed on the airline, for every affected passenger.