A house leader on Thursday said the country’s airline sector was in trouble because of rapidly shrinking financial viability due to severe congestion and operational foul-ups in the country’s major airports.
“It’s obviously becoming very difficult for airline companies to operate because of airport congestion and seeming management foul-ups in our airports,” Rep. Jericho Nograles said.
At the same time, Nograles urged the Civil Aeronautics Board to look into the welfare of flight crews who might inevitably lose their jobs as airlines try to cut costs on personnel to cope up with financial losses caused by inefficient airport operation.
“While cancellations are usually a product of airport congestion and operational snafus the most affected are the front liners and flight crews. CAB must also step in to help them,” Nograles said.
Nograles noted that the mounting complaints on flight cancellations especially Manila-bound flights due to airport congestions is putting so much financial pressure on all airline operators, especially local airline companies such as Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines.
While airline companies are trying to cope up with the increasing demand during peak season, they ultimately end up cancelling and delaying some of their flights because of airport congestion at the NAIA.
“A cancellation or even a delay on the flight of an airline costs a lot of money. This congestion problem at the NAIA is really becoming a very serious problem. The government must really find a solution as soon as possible,” Nograles noted. “Clearly, no airline will cancel flights without a reason, it eats into their profitability,” he added.
“As the principal author of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Law of 2018, I worry about the emotional stress airline front-liners receive from irate customers,” Nograles said. “Lately, delays and cancellations are attributed to impossible take off and landing schedules. It takes Government and Airlines to work together closely to fix that. I just hope that the CAB will also take into consideration the welfare of the workers.”
Nograles said any airport expansion and capacity building will take years to accomplish.
“There’s no way that the government can expand an airport overnight to solve NAIA’s airport congestion, the next best thing that the airline companies could do is to have compensation system to assuage irate passengers,” Nograles said.
“In order to lessen stress on the front liners and flight crews, airlines must have compensation systems to immediately assuage affected passengers. I think it should be standard that airlines should show more care to passengers to keep the crew morale up,” Nograles said.