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Cebu Pacific apologizes

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Cebu Pacific, the largest budget airline, has expressed deep regrets for “operational lapses” that led to massive flight delays and cancellations during the Christmas holidays.

“Today six out of ten Filipinos choose to fly with Cebu Pacific when they travel within the Philippines… Last Christmas, we let them down, and I am profoundly sorry that we failed them,” Cebu Pacific President and CEO Lance Y. Gokongwei said before the House Committee on Transportation chaired by Catanduanes Rep. Cesar V. Sarmiento.

The budget carrier had a total of 20 cancelled and 288 delayed flights at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 3 (NAIA-3) from 24th December to 26th December 2014 caused by “Cebu Pacific’s operational lapses,” Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla said.

For his part, Mr. Gokongwei cited inadequacy in ground handling services.  “Our ground handling agent failed to meet manning and service level commitments. We saw some shortfall of promised domestic check-in agents on the afternoon and evening of the 25th and by early morning of the 26th we were faced with unprecedented absenteeism which created a chaotic situation at our check-in counters,” he said.
Constituting a “breach of the basic condition of its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity,” the Philippine aviation regulator has issued a strong reprimand and imposed a fine against the Gokongwei-led airline in the amount of PhP52.1 million.

Cebu Pacific has fully paid the PhP52.1-million penalty.  Mr. Arcilla said the government had received the full amount.

 “The amount was directly deposited in the account of the National Treasury in accordance with the rules,” Mr. Arcilla said.

The payment was made after the CAB earlier this month found Cebu Pacific in violation of its certificate of public convenience and necessity.