By Benjie Lim Vergara
BUDGET airline Cebu Pacific Air on Tuesday said its operations has normalized after three days of flight cancellations due to a Chinese aircraft mishap.
CEB, in an advisory, said “barring any other technical, weather-related or other extraordinary circumstances, we do not plan to cancel flights.”
However, it also said passengers on all domestic and international flights flying out of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) Terminal 3 from August 17 until today (August 21, 2018) may still opt to rebook their flights for travel within 30 days.
The airline reiterated that for passengers whose flights were canceled, they may still avail of the following options, without penalties: rebook flights for travel within 30 days from original date of departure; convert into a Travel Fund for future use; get a full refund.
“We strongly encourage passengers to re-book or refund flights through the “Manage Booking” section inn the Cebu Pacific website (www.cebupacificair.com). They may also send us a message on our official Facebook (facebook.com/cebupacificair) and Twitter (@CebuPacificAir) accounts,” the advisory said.
The airline also expressed gratitude to the Department of Transportation, Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, Manila International Airport Authority, and the Civil Aeronautics Board “for their assistance.”
They also thank the domestic airports for the cooperation and assistance when the CEB had to divert flights.
“Please allow us to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the men and women of Cebu Pacific – from our pilots to cabin crew, front liners, ticketing agents, call center representatives, customer communications staff, and other support team members for volunteering to take on extended duty to help manage the situation as best they could. Most importantly, we thank our passengers for their patience and understanding,” the advisory said.
CEB was forced to cancel its flights in the past few days following the closure of NAIA runway 06/24 after Xiamen Airlines skidded off the runway while landing on Thursday night, August 16.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced that special flights were arranged to accommodate several stranded passengers respectively bound for Vancouver, Canada for August 21, Riyadh, and Dammam in Saudi Arabia for August 22.
The flag carrier, at the same time, thanked its passengers/clients/guests for their patience and understanding during the last few challenging days, “when our flights to and from our Manila hub were severely affected by the closure of NAIA runway 06/24.”
“The blockage of the main runway, by another airline’s disabled aircraft compelled us to divert many flights to Clark, Cebu, Davao and even overseas including Bangkok, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), where more than 20 of our airplanes were stranded. The timely deplaning of passengers became a challenge too at some diversion airports despite our efforts in coordinating with airport authorities at these airports because of the sudden influx of multiple diverted flights from various airlines,” PAL said.
The airline said it struggled to operate some flights from the secondary runway, 13/31, which could accept smaller aircraft. Unfortunately, there were still delays and cancellations as dozens of flights from different smaller airlines switched to the runway, not to mention the strong tailwinds that required closing Runway 13/31 at times.
“We exerted all efforts to take care of affected passengers, who, we recognize, had to endure uncertainty, long waits and discomfort. We acknowledge, however, that our efforts were not enough at some of the critical times. And for this, we sincerely apologize and we assure you that we will strive to do more and make the necessary improvements for the benefit of all,” PAL said.
PAL also expressed gratitude to the Manila International Airport Authority, the Civil Aviation Authority, and other government agencies here and abroad, with whom they have been constantly coordinating as well as appreciation to all its personnel, service providers and other program partners who gave all-out dedication during the difficult time, and most of all, to their customers and their families.