MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to curb flight delays and cancellations, the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC) said on Tuesday, April 14, airlines will be banned from overbooking during peak seasons starting fourth quarter of 2015.
While overbooking is a globally-accepted practice, there should be a limit so as to protect the passengers, DOTC spokesperson Michael Arthur Sagcal said.
“We see no reason to allow overbooking of domestic flights during peak seasons because there is a foreseeable surge in the demand for seats, so most flights are full anyway,” Sagcal stressed.
The proposed changes would ban airlines from overbooking during peak season, starting in this year’s Halloween and Christmas holidays.
The DOTC is also looking at capping overbooking during non-peak seasons to 10%.
Sagcal said that DOTC is also working closely with the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) to improve certain provisions in the Air Passenger Bill of Rights.
The Air Passenger Bill of Rights was implemented through a joint administrative order of the DOTC and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in December 2012.
While there were improvements since the issuance of the rights, Sagcal admitted that further improvements are still needed.
“For example, we still see cases of passengers being denied boarding despite having valid tickets – something that should be dealt with more firmly,” Sagcal said.
For its part, CAB Executive Editor Carmelo Arcilla said the regulator is also looking at shortening to two hours, from the existing 3 hours, the period before a delay becomes compensable.
CAB is also looking to fix a minimum compensation for any passenger who is denied boarding due to overbooking.
Arcilla said the lack of a minimum compensation in cases where boarding is denied oftentimes led to stalemate in negotiations between airlines and their passengers, prompting the filing of complaints before the agency.
“These proposed improvements will help compel airlines to reduce flight delays and to adhere faithfully to their approved schedules,” Arcilla said.
Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) General Manager Jose Angel Honrado earlier ordered airlines to shape up and address the perennial problem of flight delays.
The representatives were shown the daily logs with the recorded flight delays, revealing that the flight delays is not necessarily air traffic congestion but airline companies falling short of meeting their flight schedules.
Honrado said that, as a solution, airlines should hasten the ground servicing of aircraft and adjust their passenger loading time.
Honrado said that airlines should meet their flight schedules for the benefit of their passengers.
The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines also proposed a workshop for airlines to further discuss solutions to flight delay. – Rappler.com
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