MANILA, Philippines – Transportation and Communications Secretary Manuel Roxas announced they will release a second draft of the air passenger bill of rights in two weeks, with the official order expected to be out by end-August.
His department, together with the Civil Aeronautics Board and Department of Trade and Industry, is holding public consultations on the bill of rights contained in a joint administrative order (JAO) that will set the guidelines for airline practices.
The JAO is meant to address passenger complaints regarding overbooking, non-rebookability and non-refundability of airline tickets, among others.
“In two weeks time, we will circulate another draft. The same e-mail address will remain open for a week for final comments on the second draft, based on that we will determine what’s necessary and what’s not,” Roxas said.
The second draft will “consolidate all the suggestions and comments” given by industry stakeholders during the public consultations.
The second public hearing on the bill of rights was held on Friday, July 20, and the first on July 6.
“We are happy with the outcome of the second hearing. There were so many e-mails and comments from IATA (International Air Transport Association), Philippine Travel Agents Association, airlines and the public,” Roxas said.
“Slowly, we are able to address the issues,” he added.
Among the contentious issues tackled and deliberated on Friday were:
- Opening and closing hours of check-in counters depending on the type of aircraft;
- Required ad space for airlines to clearly state the restrictions, conditions and other matters about tickets, including inclusion of terms and conditions twice in English and Filipino;
- Declaration of the number of seats offered on promo;
- Compensation for denial of boarding;
- Compensation for loss, damage and delay of baggage;
- Special provisions for persons with disabilities;
- Immediate payment of compensation; and
- Reserve aircraft.
Roxas reiterated that DOTC wants to help the airline sector to “effectively run their business operations,” while protecting passengers’ rights, which is the main objective of the JAO.
He clarified that the JAO will cover only the needs of roughly 26,000 domestic passengers.
“Our rules would be for everybody serving the domestic market because there are currently enough rules for the international. All international flights abide by existing IATA regulations,” he said. – Rappler.com