Cebu Pacific debunks 'cost-cutting' allegations

THE management of Cebu Pacific Air clarified that it uses boarding bridges "whenever they are available," debunking cost-cutting allegations made by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez earlier.

In its position paper, the airline said use of boarding bridges is cheaper than transporting passengers by shuttle buses on the tarmac to and from the aircraft.

"We would like to note that bussing passengers is actually more expensive than paying tacking fees," the airline said. Tacking fees are charged by airport operators everytime an airline uses a boarding bridge.

The airline submitted its position paper during the continuation of the House transportation panel's deliberation on the bill urging the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Manila International Airport Authorities to present a rationalization program of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

Cebu Pacific said it paid close to P100 million in tacking fees in 2017 alone. The cost is expected to increase as they will upgrade their shuttle buses soon to comply with environmental standards.

Cebu Pacific has also belied the allegation that they have failed to refund the terminal fees of passengers who failed to board its flights.

"There is no truth to the claim that Cebu Pacific does not refund unused terminal fees," Cebu Pacific's position paper read.

According to Cebu Pacific, it has processed more than P344 million in terminal fee refunds to passengers.

"As far as Cebu Pacific is concerned, unused Philippine Airport terminal fees are refunded in full with no administration charges. This is unlike the more common practice globally where an administration fee is charged," it added.

The management, however, recognizes that the current process can still be improved.

It said it plans to create a refund application form online so that passengers can easily request for a refund.

During the House committee on transportation's hearing last February 14, Alvarez chided Cebu Pacific President Lance Gokongwei for the airlines' alleged use of buses to transport passengers instead of using boarding bridges.

Alvarez called the airline "too greedy" for implementing such "cost-cutting scheme" and advised Gokongwei to prioritize delivery of better services instead of ensuring profit. (SunStar Philippines)