House panel to investigate Cebu Pacific’s refusal to use airbridge
THE House Committee on Transportation will conduct an inquiry when session resumes in July relative to reports that Cebu Pacific and other airlines do not use the passenger tube or airbridge for the embarkation and disembarkation of its passengers causing inconvenience especially to the elderly, persons with disabilities and children.
Reps. Rufus Rodriguez (2nd District, Cagayan de Oro City) and Maximo Rodriguez, Jr. (Party-list, Abante Mindanao), authors of House Resolution 2379, urged Congress to look into this practice of airline companies not using the airbridge because of its refusal to pay the P7,000 fee per flight for its use.
Rodriguez also urged the house body to summon the officials of the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA), the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP), Cebu Pacific, other airline companies and other government agencies to shed light on the matter.
Rodriguez said these airline companies must be made aware that they are in an industry imbued with public interest and that they are there to serve its passengers and not cause any preventable inconvenience.
“There is an urgent need to look into why airlines are being charged for the use of the airbridge when passengers are already being made to pay terminal fees which are supposed to be used for the upkeep and use of the facilities of the airport,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez said it is the common practice for airlines to use the airbridge in order for the passengers to embark and disembark from the aircraft with very little inconvenience and to be protected from the rains or harsh rays of the sun.
According to Rodriguez, it has been reported that certain airline companies in the Philippines do not use the airbridge and instead lets its passengers embark and disembark from the aircraft directly to the runway using a staircase.
Citing an article of Ramon Tulfo, a columnist of Philippine Daily Inquirer, Rodriguez said the writer narrated that he personally saw how a certain Nelly Castro, a fellow passenger who could barely walk, was made to go down the stairs, along with all the other passengers, and to go down the plane onto the airport ramp and later made to climb a flight of stairs to the terminal tube.
“This system of letting passengers embark and disembark using the staircase is very inconvenient for passengers particularly for the elderly, the persons with disabilities and even the children,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez added that this system is also unsafe for passengers when it is raining as these stairs tend to become very slippery when wet.