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January 23, 2015

BELATED SUBMISSION: THE MANILA BULLETIN Airfare rollback endorsed by CAB

A TOP official of the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) has endorsed a price rollback of airfare of domestic carriers in a media interview last week.  His endorsement is anchored on the already multiple fuel price reductions made by oil companies that have benefitted consumers and industries.

He is a sensible government executive.  The price reduction of oil, especially that of aviation fuel, has lessened the operational costs of local airline companies.  The fuel factor is estimated at 40 percent.

Why not give the savings to the air-commuting public?  This can be done via lower airfare, as well as freight costs.  A reduction of these costs will help lessen the burden of individual passengers and shippers.

To give our readers an idea that an exorbitant airfare deserves to be rolled  back is the one-way ticket to my hometown of Calbayog which is P3,400.  Each passenger is allotted only 10 kilos of free baggage.

The Calbayog fare is within the range of a ticket to Hong Kong, or just add a few more hundreds and one gets to fly to Sydney, Australia.

It's a shame.  There is this defending silence maintained by local domestic carriers in spite of widespread outcry for them to reduce passenger and cargo charges.  Theirs is a conspiracy of silence.

This taciturn attitude is sending an odious signal to government leaders and private entrepreneurs who do regular business with airlines as shippers.

The public will always remember that at the first sign of fuel price increase, domestic airlines are first to file petitions for corresponding adjustment to their conveyance rates (passenger and freight).

They will never volunteer to reduce their charges.  But when it comes to haranguing government regulatory agencies so that they can raise their charges, theirs is a collective effort.

In a simile, local domestic carriers are the first to tighten the cord around the neck of their passengers.  But loosening it, only heaven knows when!

As everyone is now comfortable aware, prices of consumer oil products have gone down seven times since October, triggered by the drop of crude oil prices from $107 per barrel to the present &68 in the Singapore trading market.

The land transportation sector had earlier responded by scaling down fares charged to commuters in PUVs, with taxicab companies volunteering to refund P10 to passengers whose metered fare exceeds P100.

Meanwhile, a party-list congressman has prodded CAB to abolish the fuel surcharge that airline companies include in the cost of tickets of passengers.

“To allow passengers to enjoy lower airfares, CAB should eliminate the fuel surcharge mechanism,” LPGMA Rep. Arnel Ty said.

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