Flight delays on Christmas Day, Cebu Pacific explains

AviationUpdatesPH.com – Cebu Pacific Air, the largest low-cost carrier in the Philippines, has provided clarification on the flight delays, cancellations, and overbookings that occurred on Christmas Day. The airline attributes these disruptions primarily to overbooking, adverse weather conditions, and air traffic congestion, resulting in delayed aircraft turnarounds.

Photo from Wikimedia

Juan Lorenzo Tañada, Vice President for Corporate Affairs at Cebu Pacific Air, acknowledged the challenges faced during the holiday season, with a surge in passengers heading to provinces and the need for schedule adjustments due to weather-related flight cancellations.

Tañada emphasized the impact of air traffic congestion and inclement weather, leading to a cascading effect on flight schedules. He stated, "Christmas Day was really a big deluge that we experienced, but we experienced a lot of consequential flight delays because of the air traffic congestion. There was inclement weather in some regions, and this resulted in a lot of flights being canceled."

The surge in passengers and delayed flights resulted in long lines at check-in counters, causing some passengers to miss their flights. Overbooking, a standard industry practice to compensate for no-shows, may have contributed to the extended queues. Tañada explained that Cebu Pacific personnel faced challenges during the peak holiday season, including fatigue and late arrivals.

In response to the situation, Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya coordinated with aviation authorities to increase check-in counters and deploy additional personnel at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport. Despite the addition of 12 check-in counters, passengers continued to face extended queues.

Photo from Dino Ponti

Tañada highlighted the impact of bad weather on specific routes, such as Manila to Puerto Princesa, Virac, and Tuguegarao, resulting in flight backlogs since December 23. He also mentioned the "sunset limitation" in some domestic airports, preventing night flights.

Addressing passenger rights, Tañada assured that Cebu Pacific would accommodate rebooking or full refunds for canceled flights. The Air Passenger Bill of Rights stipulates compensation for delays exceeding three hours, with options for rebooking or refunds.

As the government agencies, including the Civil Aeronautics Board, Manila International Airport Authority, and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, lead an investigation into the incidents, Cebu Pacific commits to full cooperation. Tañada emphasized the airline's dedication to resolving the issues and expressed assurance that measures are in place to manage the situation.

Passengers affected by the disruptions are encouraged to utilize web check-in options and kiosks at terminals to streamline the check-in process. Cebu Pacific remains committed to addressing the concerns and ensuring a smoother travel experience for its passengers.