If airlines could not ensure the riding public convenience and comfort, then why stay in business at all?
President Rodrigo Duterte raised this question on Monday as he reminded airline companies in the country to provide the very essence of a common carrier to their passengers: Convenience.
In his speech during the 121st anniversary of the Philippine Navy, the Chief Executive brought up the suffering of air commuters over flight cancellations and delays.
“There’s one airplane that landed and they [passengers] stayed for five hours inside the plane—incoming. Somebody called after two hours. They would be booked in a hotel. I really pity the riding public,” Duterte said.
“So, I told PAL [Philippine Airlines] and the rest of the carriers: The very essence of a common carrier—whether it is a jeep, a bus, an airplane, a ship—your common [goal] is for public interest and public governance, and convenience. If you cannot provide convenience and comfort, do we ought not to be there at all?”
The President made the remark a week after he made a surprise inspection at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 and apologized to the passengers for the flight delays and cancellations.
Duterte himself checked whether affected passengers were given flight diversions and incentives to ease their inconvenience or not, vowing “to come up with a remedy within a month.”
Earlier last week, the President, expressed dismay over the conditions at the NAIA and directed the transfer of domestic flights operations to Sangley Point, Cavite to ease congestion in NAIA, eyeing its immediate revamp.
For his part, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade said they already ordered the contractor to complete the project on or before November 2019 – a deadline personally set by the President.
The Palace had said that the Transportation chief tested ferries that could bring passengers from the Mall of Asia, Pasay City to Sangley Point within 18 to 24 minutes.
As for security matters on the Cavite airport, Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said Duterte wants to have a single entity, either from the military or a civilian body, to lead its security operations.