By Ellson Quismorio
The Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) should check on the welfare of local airline employees amid the mounting cancellations of Manila-bound flights due to airport congestion, Puwersa ng Bayaning Atleta (PBA) Party-List Rep. Jericho Nograles said on Thursday.
“A cancellation or even a delay on the flight of an airline costs a lot of money. This congestion problem at the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) is really becoming a very serious problem. The government must really find a solution as soon as possible,” said Nograles.
“Clearly, no airline will cancel flights without a reason, it eats into their profitability. As the principal author of the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Law of 2018, I worry about the emotional stress airline front-liners receive from irate customers,” said the solon, who is the son of former House Speaker and Davao congressman Prospero Nograles.
According to Nograles, the airline sector is facing fast-shrinking financial viability due to the severe congestion and operational foul-ups in the country’s major airports.
He said the resulting flight cancellations are putting financial pressure on all airline operators, especially local airline companies such as Cebu Pacific (CebPac) and Philippine Airlines (PAL).
“Lately, delays and cancellations are attributed to impossible take off and landing schedules. It takes government and airlines to work together closely to fix that. I just hope that the CAB will also take into consideration the welfare of the workers,” said Nograles, who currently serves as caretaker solon of Sulu and Davao City (1st district).
CAB must step in
Adding to the problem is the fact that airport expansion and capacity building simply can’t happen overnight and will take years to accomplish.
“The next best thing that the airline companies could do is to have a compensation system to assuage irate passengers,” Nograles said.
“In order to lessen stress on the front liners and flights crews, airlines must have compensation systems to immediately assuage affected passengers. I think it should be standard that airlines should show more care to passengers to keep the crew morale up,” he added.
Nograles further urged CAB to look into the welfare of flight crews who might inevitably lose their jobs as airlines try to cut costs on personnel to cope up with financial losses caused by inefficient airport operation.
“While cancellations are usually a product of airport congestion and operational snafus, the most affected are the front liners and flight crews. CAB must also step in to help them,” he stressed.