PHL mainstream media should stop blaming airlines for sudden flight cancellations

Sometimes, some of these local media outfits can go out of hand accusing airlines for sudden flight disruptions and cancellations without digging into facts.

Just today, this certain media outfit called out the airlines for flight cancellations which is causing more LSI or Locally Stranded Individuals to remain in airports. But wait, did we even look into why airlines cancel flights last minute?

LGUs keep changing their decision on accepting flights

First of all, lets look into the local government units (LGUs) who keep changing their decisions on opening and closing their airports. As of July 1, there are 21 airports that allow flights in and 29 that do not. Please see the chart below from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

Last June 30, there were 24 airports that allow commercial flights. Then the day prior, June 29, there were 23.

So if you see, the number of operational airports are totally inconsistent day by day which forces the airlines to cancel flights after they have been scheduled prior and when others have booked in advance already.

We also cannot say that the airlines then should not have advance scheduled flights. You are asking for the impossible. The airline industry is a far cry from public road transportation like jeeps, UV Express, and taxis can go out or cancel anytime.

However if you will look at the airline announcements, they always indicate that flight schedules are subject to change due to sudden changes in LGU decisions and other factors.

So is this the airlines' fault? NO! The airlines just follow mandates from the national and local government, hence, these cancellations are FORCE MAJEURE. 

Airlines have more than enough capacity to fly back LSIs

Our local airlines are only using 15% to 20% of their total capacity right now, hence, they have more than enough seats to fly home LSIs to their provinces.

In fact, our airlines want to increase capacity because they want to fly back these LSIs however, they cannot increase capacity due to limitations in biosecurity measures like covid-19 testing and screening facilities in airports. The airlines are no longer in charge of these testing facilities in our airports, those fall under the hand of the national and local governments.

Some Philippine Airlines (PAL) flights from the United States had to fly to Cebu before going to Manila due to the lack of screening and testing facilities in Manila.

Some LGUs and airports can no longer take the number of LSIs hence, they order the closure of inbound flights to their respective regions, forcing airlines to cancel flights.

Airlines cancelled some flights last minute not because they cannot take the demand, but because of sudden change in decision by the LGUs.

This situation is further killing our airlines, putting more than 500,000 jobs at risk

While other countries are doing their best to save their airlines, it seems like the Philippine government doesn't seem to care much about how all these are hurting the industry. There is always a way to strike a balance between health and progress but there is just so much lack of coordination where LGUs make sudden changes in decisions.

Inter-connectivity is very important in a country's development and growth. The airlines play a huge role in a country's economic development by providing airlift to connect people and to fly cargo around at faster speeds compared to maritime.The lack of government support for the airlines can turn things the opposite direction. Many people in the aviation industry have lost their jobs already and more are bound to if the government does not put some priority on this industry.

Force majeure

Sudden cancellations brought by changes in decisions are force majeure, meaning, our airlines have no choice but to cancel their flights because the situation call them to do so. LGUs suddenly closing their airports, the lack of testing facilities, and so much more have forced airlines to change their schedules at the last minute. Do the airlines like this? Absolutely not, but they have no choice but to abide.

So to people in the mainstream media industry, before going on blaming the airline for the sudden cancellations, please do look into the facts. Airlines are profusely bleeding and the last thing they would want are cancelled flights as these are now causing them huge money.

Responsible broadcasting is key!

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  1. How about getting the act together we want to go back to our country. Everytime we think we r going to be able to go cancel flights

  2. Gosh, sinabi pa lang na it’s the governments(LGUs) fault cuz they keep changing their minds. The airlines have no choice but to cancel. Airplanes can’t land/take-off if they don’t have clearance. Do you really think that airlines are overjoyed when their flights are cancelled? Cancelled flights means a wasted opportunity for profit and a logistics nightmare. They have to reschedule and move other people’s flights to get rid of the backlog.


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