CAAP blames Cebu Pacific for delays at NAIA

Posted at 10/24/13 11:15 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Operations at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) are back to normal as of Thursday morning.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) said Japanese technicians completed maintenance work on NAIA's radar system at around 6 a.m., Thursday.

However, the CAAP is validating reports that Cebu Pacific did not comply with its directive to reduce its domestic flights by 40% during the 30-hour maintenance work.

In an interview on ANC's Headstart, CAAP deputy director John Andrews said he received reports that Cebu Pacific did not reduce flights by the required percentage, resulting in delays and inconvenience to many passengers.

The CAAP had required airlines to reduce domestic flights by 40%  during the 30-hour maintenance work at the NAIA. Airlines cancelled hundreds of domestic flights, with many passengers complaining about the lack of advance notice for the cancellations.

Andrews noted that the airlines had been informed about the radar system's downtime a month in advance, but they could not agree on which flights to cancel.

"We had several meetings on this. Airlines, of course, are trying to squabble, get more on this.... Other airlines submitted their suggested cancelled flights, except one airline, placed their cancelled flights at the last minute. This is Cebu Pacific," Andrews said.

Andrews said the CAAP will look into whether Cebu Pacific complied with the 40% reduction of domestic flights.

"From reports I've been receiving now, these delays and cancellations were caused because Cebu Pacific did not comply with the minimum required 40% reduction in flights. We are investigating this now," he said.

"They did (reduce flights) but not 40%. These are initial reports, I still have to validate this... Because (if you) just put one or two flights there, there will be partial chaos. Because delays are going to be compounded."