Domestic travel in the Philippines will recover fast, if LGUs get their acts straight

“What can we do if we allow planes to fly but local governments reject them?” Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said during Press Briefing in Malacanan last June 2. While local airlines have already created schedules for their domestic flights, it seems like local government units (LGUs) keep changing their minds to allow these flights on.

Just last June 6, Cebu Pacific had to cancel flights to General Santos until further notice after the LGU restricted flights. This  resulted to passengers getting stranded in Manila instead of returning back to their provinces.

According to Air Carrier Association of the Philippines (ACAP) executive director Roberto Lim, LGUs have different requirements despite them all being under a General Community Quarantine (GCQ) status.

Some scheduled flights of Cebu Pacific to General Santos, Naga, and Cagayan de Oro were treated as repatriation flights subject to LGU quarantine regulations.

Last minute flight cancellations and adjustments

Airlines have also been adjusting their flight schedules at the last minute due to LGU decisions, which seem to have poor to no coordination with the Department of Transportation (DOTr), Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) and Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB). 

Sudden flight cancellations may cause airline to even lose more money, knowing for a fact that they have lost a lot while flights were suspended. 

Sadly, passengers blame the airlines for the last minute cancellations without knowing who really caused it. While airlines would like to already begin domestic operations in order to generate revenue due to mounting costs, they are constrained to follow all government regulations.

Airline recovery depends on how early they can fly

For as long as they are grounded, then recovery will just be a pipe dream for these airlines. Hence, the earlier they can fly, the earlier they can begin their recovery period. While domestic flights will play a major role during this period, everything will also depend on the decisions of the different LGUs. 

Airlines are not only important in propagating the tourism sector of a country, they are as important in trade.

For as long as these restrictions from the different LGUs are eased up, and for as long as everything are well planned out, our airlines would be able to recover faster.

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