Roxas tells airlines: Passenger bill of rights won't ruin you
MANILA, Philippines - Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas has assured local airlines the administrative order his department is drafting will not "ruin their business."
"Let me reiterate to the airline companies that we are not here to ruin their business or cause them to lose money or in any way jeopardize what has been a successful model," Roxas said during the first public hearing on DOTC-DTI-CAB Administrative Order No. 01 known as the Air Passenger Bill of Rights.
However, he said the order will see to it that passengers are protected against any abuse. "[Airlines'] model cannot be successful at the expense of the rights of the innocent passenger, who is a partner in a contract entered into whenever a ticket is sold."
Roxas reiterated that the order will balance the interests of all stakeholders in the aviation industry.
He said the draft is still subject to change. "We will hear what everybody has to say, we will amend accordingly and then we will officially convert it into regulation."
The order will set guidelines on several airline industry practices, including overbooking, rebooking and ticket refunds.
One provision in the draft order prohibits airlines from choosing who they can bump off when a flight is overbooked. It says that airlines must ask for volunteers who will give up their seats in exchange for "compensation" so the excess passengers can take the flight.
Airlines and consumer groups took turns in presenting their positions during the public hearing. They were also asked to submit their inputs to the draft bill of rights.
Roxas said all written inputs and proposed amendments will be received by the Technical Working Group up to July 16. The next hearing is tentatively scheduled on July 20.
Roxas said they hope the order will foster a better relationship between airlines and consumers.
"Magiging mas malinaw ang mga karapatan at obligasyon ng mga pasahero at ganundin ang mga airlines. Magiging mas maayos ang kanilang relasyon at yung sisihan, iyong turuan kung sino man ang may kasalanan ay mababawasan," he said.
(The rights and obligations of both passengers and airlines will be made clear. Finger-pointing over who's at fault will be minimized.)
In 2011, a total of 83 airline passenger complaints were recorded by the transportation department, versus 77 in 2010.
Aside from overbooking, non-refund of tickets, cancelled and delayed flights, lost bags and misleading advertisements were among the top complaints. - Rappler.com