House Speaker on Cebu Pacific management: 'Too greedy'

THE management of Cebu Pacific got another tongue-lashing from House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez over its supposed cost-cutting schemes.

In a radio interview, Alvarez, referring to Cebu Pacific, said: "Masyadong matakaw, matakaw sa profit, yung greed, sobra na… yung greed ng Cebu Pacific (Very greedy. Cebu Pacific's greed is too much)."

READ: Alvarez chides Cebu Pacific over alleged cost-cutting practices

During the hearing of the House committee on transportation on February 14, Alvarez chided Cebu Pacific President Lance Gokongwei for its airlines' non-use of the passenger bridge, putting on danger passengers with disabilities, the elderly and the children.

He said the non-use of the passenger bridge is part of the company's schemes to cut cost.

During a press conference on the same day, Alvarez also told the media about Cebu Pacific's failure to refund the passengers' money even after they failed to board its flight.

In the radio interview, Alvarez said Cebu Pacific should stop prioritizing making profit alone.

"Tingnan niyo rin yung responsibility niyo doon sa mga pasahero niyo na gumagamit ng inyong airline (Also look into your responsibility to ensure the safety of your passengers)," he said.

"At saka ayusin niyo yung patakbo ng kumpanya ninyo para hindi yung puro ano lang kayo, yung kita, kung magkano yung kinikita ninyo pagkatapos ng taon. Mayroon din tayong mga social responsibilities, i-address niyo yun, huwag kayong masyadong matakaw (Manage your business well; don't just focus on getting profit. We also have social responsibilities that you have to address. Don't be too greedy)," he added.

Alvarez attributed the overcrowding at the terminals in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) to Cebu Pacific's non-compliance with the rules imposed by airport authorities on the use of terminals.

"Nagkaroon tayo ng traffic sa runway at saka yung mga terminals natin, hindi na kayang i-accommodate. Ngayon noong tinanong ko yung management, bakit hindi niyo maiayos iyan, ang sinasabi nila ang tigas daw ng ulo ng Cebu Pacific. Ang PAL (Philippine Airlines) willing sumunod. Itong Cebu Pacific, matigas yung ulo," he said.

(We had runway traffic and our terminals can't even accommodate all airlines. When I asked the airport management why they can't fix the problem, they said Cebu Pacific, unlike PAL, does not follow rules. Cebu Pacific is stubborn.)

Alvarez, during Wednesday's hearing, asked the Manila International Airport Authorities (MIAA) to put their operations in order and consider transferring excess domestic flights to other airports like Clark International Airport to ease passenger congestion and air traffic at NAIA.

READ: Manila airport execs told to move excess flights to Clark

Alvarez gave the MIAA and the airline stakeholders 45 days to comply or face possible cancellation of their franchises.

Gokongwei appealed to this and asked for more than a year to comply considering that Cebu Pacific sell tickets a year advance.

“Respectfully sir, given the way we sell tickets one year in advance and also the time it requires to move all our people and (do) the ground preparations, I think these drastic steps may take over a year of planning,” Gokongwei said.

Alavarez did not buy his explanation and maintained that airlines should follow the rules.

Cebu Pacific was able to carry about 15 million domestic passengers in 2017, according to Gokongwei. (SunStar Philippines)