Philippine Airlines said Monday it settled more than P12.72 billion worth of COVID-related refund requests from passengers as the airline vowed to address the backlogs.
“We are doing all we can to cope with the massive deluge of refund requests that we received after the global pandemic forced us to cancel more than 60,000 PAL flights since March 2020, affecting over 1.3 million passengers,” the airline unit of tycoon Lucio Tan said.
“The loss of revenues deprived us of liquidity to make prompt refund payments, even as lockdown restrictions posed serious staffing and logistical limitations,” it said.
PAL said it progressively stepped up its processing capabilities to address the system backlogs.
“We have so far refunded about 80 percent of the more than $300 million (P15.9 billion) COVID-related refund requests,” PAL said.
“We recognize that this has taken some time, and we greatly appreciate your understanding as we continue to resolve these challenges over the coming months,” it said.
PAL said it restored nearly 15 percent of regular domestic and global network and aimed to ramp up more flights and more routes in line with the expected easing of travel and quarantine restrictions.
“We assure our customers of Philippine Airlines’ commitment to fulfill all refund obligations, and we sincerely apologize for the long processing time many of you have experienced,” PAL said.
Cebu Pacific also said it refunded over P2.4 billion of booking cancellations related to COVID-19, equivalent to 50 percent of refund requests received.
“We remain committed to our customers to complete pending refunds, and will update them once these have been processed. We are currently halfway through refund requests filed last April,” Cebu Pacific said.
Cebu Pacific said the refunds may take up to six months to process from the time the request was filed.
Cebu Pacific said the tourism and aviation industries were among the worst hit by COVID-19, which limited Cebu Pacific’s flights to only 10 percent of its pre-COVID network.