Speaker takes aim at Cebu Pacific, wants fewer planes at NAIA

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 15 2018 11:48 AM | Updated as of Feb 15 2018 04:25 PM

MANILA - (2nd UPDATE) House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Thursday carriers have 45 days to help decongest the capital's main airport by moving flights to Clark, or risk losing their franchise.

Alvarez singled out the country's largest carrier, Cebu Pacific, calling it "hard-headed," unlike its rival, Philippine Airlines.

Cebu Pacific operates domestic and international flights out of Terminal 3, the newest of 4 passenger depots at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport complex.

Its CEO, Lance Gokongwei, was the only airline executive at a congressional hearing on Thursday on how to ease air traffic at NAIA.

Quoting airline management, Alvarez told DZMM that Cebu Pacific was "hard-headed (matigas ang ulo)" regarding shifting more flights to Clark.

"Pag hindi sila lumipat ng 45 days, we will consider cancelling their franchise," Alvarez said during a hearing of the House tourism committee on airport congestion.

(If they don't transfer in 45 days, we will consider cancelling their franchise.)

"At saka ayusin niyo yung patakbo ng kumpanya ninyo… hindi yung puro ano lang kayo, yung kita," he said.

(Fix your company. Don't be too fixated on your earnings at the end of the year.)

Shares of Cebu Pacific were down 1.76 percent in late trading on Thursday, compared to a 0.82 percent decline on the main index.

Gokongwei told congressmen during the hearing that such a move would take months of planning as tickets are sold up to a year in advance.

Alvarez rebutted: "Hindi problema ng gobyerno iyan. Problema nyo iyan. Bakit kayo nagbenta ng ticket ng 1 taon?" 

(That's not government's problem. It's your problem. Why did you sell tickets a year in advance?)

Manila's main airport has been running above capacity for years, causing flight delays.

Earlier this week, a "super consortium" of 7 of the country's biggest companies, including the Gokongwei family's Cebu Pacific, submitted a P350-billion unsolicited proposal to government to expand the NAIA or the Ninoy Aquino International Airport.

-- with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News