CAB pushes for use of airport aerobridges by airlines
Passengers may soon board and disembark in comfort using airport aerobridges, something the Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) is pushing for to address public clamor for improved services.
But local airlines may not like the idea since passengers who use the stairs will translate to a more efficient use of their aircraft.
“We already had consultations with the airlines on the issue last week,” CAB Executive Director Carmelo Arcilla said in an interview. “We asked them to submit position papers.”
The issue is an offshoot of recent efforts to come up with a “bill of rights” for airline passengers as the government cracks down on alleged abuses such as overbooking of flights by carriers.
The CAB, Arcilla said, is considering forcing airlines to use aerobridges in airports where these facilities are available.
Airlines are increasingly opting to use stairs because these allow for the faster “deplaning” of aircraft, he added.
The faster a plane can be emptied and filled up again with passengers, the more flights can be mounted and the more money an airline makes.
Arcilla said using aerobridges, while slower, would represent a small direct cost for airlines.
“That’s just P5 per passenger,” Arcilla said. “The issue for them is the quick turnaround of planes. We are still studying and we will evaluate all their positions.”
He acknowledged that the proposed rule would run counter to the global trend of giving airlines the choice between bridges and stairs.
But Arcilla said the government’s main goal would be to protect the rights of passengers, not look after airlines.
Cebu Pacific, which serves more passengers than any other local airline, declined to comment on the matter, adding that it would file a position paper this week.
The passenger bill of rights is currently being drafted by the Department of Transportation and Communications, in cooperation with the Tourism and the Trade and Industry departments.
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