MANILA - Cebu Pacific apologized Monday for the inconvenience caused by the "unprecedented" cancellation of around 50 flights since last week.
The operations of the country's largest carrier "choked" due to "intertwined" factors, including several damaged aircraft and heavy traffic that prevented flights from taking off and landing on time, said its spokesperson Charo Logarta Lagamon.
"Samu't sari, sanga-sanga at damay-damay na mga kadahilanan -- Wala namang iisang root cause ang mga problema na ito," she told DZMM.
(The reasons were various, intertwined and connected. There is no single root cause for these problems.)
"Dumating na sa punto na hindi na makahinga, nabubulunan na iyung network... Masakit man at mahirap mang gawin, wala kaming choice kundi kailangan munang magbawas ng mga flights para po maibalik, mairestore 'yung network sa normal," she added.
(It has reached a point that the network can no longer breathe, was already choking. It was difficult and painful but we had no choice but to reduce flights to restore the network to its normal state.)
Asked why heavy air traffic did not affect the operations of other carriers, Lagamon said Cebu Pacific had twice as much domestic flights as its competitors.
The fight cancellations, she said, were not caused by a recent breach of Cebu Pacific's rewards app GetGo, which is separate from the airline's overall operations.
She also denied that the disruption was caused by the overbooking of flights, which is not allowed by the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB).
Cebu Pacific was extending "every possible help" to passengers, including rebooking their flights in other airlines, said Lagamon.
"Inaamin naman po namin na kami po ay nakaabala at nakaagrabyado po. Paumanhin na lang po talaga sa sitwasyon na ito," she said.
(We admit that we caused inconvenience. We apologize for this situation.)
"This is really unprecedented in our 23 years," she added.
Cebu Pacific expects operations to normalize "over the coming days" as it awaits a rush of travelers bound for the provinces to vote in the May 13 elections, said the spokesperson.
The airline will face fines if proven that they violated passengers' rights during the flight cancellations, CAB chief legal officer Wyrlou Samodio said after an emergency meeting with Cebu Pacific and airport representatives.
It is still too early to draw a conclusion, with CAB still verifying the frequency by which the affected flights were cancelled in previous instances, he said.
Skyjet, Philippine Airlines, and AirAsia also sough permission to cancel flights, said Samodio.
Passengers affected by the disruption should be notified by the airline and may be entitled to hotel accommodation if they were already at the airport before the cancellations were announced, he earlier said.
With a report from Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News