DOTC joins investigation of budget airlines

Posted at 02/22/2012 8:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Transportation Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas said on Tuesday his department will look into the restrictions imposed by low-cost carriers (LCCs) that offer very low ticket price but which comes with steep rules.

This as Congress tackles today several House resolutions seeking to “expose” the “unjust and unfair” policies of LCCs.

LCCs apply for various permits and authorizations from the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (Caap) that are both attached agencies of the Department of Transportation and Communications (DOTC).

Tickets bought from LCCs are nonrefundable, nonreroutable, non-endorsable and which, if unused, are forfeited.  These are some of the rules imposed by the LCCs in exchange for cheap air fare that can be bought for as low as P1.

The CAB, headed by Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla, said these restrictions are what actually make the fares cheap. “A seat in the airplane is a perishable product. If you don’t show up then that seat is gone forever. You can’t purchase the same seat again.”

LCCs, he explained, share the same objective as to why they offer rock-bottom fares. “They want everyone to experience travel. Be it a house helper, a student, or practically everyone who wants to travel can now do so because fares are cheap,” said Arcilla.

Still, this option is best left to the discretion of the passenger.

“There are many kinds of air fare in the market and the passenger has the option to avail himself or herself of any kind. There are cheap fares with less restrictions but the cheapest comes with severe restrictions. There is a price to pay for everything,” said Arcilla.

The situation is not unique to the Philippines as other LCCs in the region also apply restricted rules on promo, the CAB official added.