Cracking down on airlines: Advocacy group urges jail time, franchise revocation for abusive actions

In an effort to address the growing concerns regarding airlines’ abusive practices, an advocacy group is proposing stringent measures which include jail time and the cancellation of franchises to hold carriers accountable for their actions.

The advocacy group points to a growing number of complaints from passengers who have experienced a range of issues, from being unjustly bumped off prebooked flights to incurring additional costs due to extended stays and the need to purchase new tickets to reach their intended destinations.

Despite the existence of the Air Passenger Bill of Rights, approved by the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Transportation and Communications in 2012, these rights are often disregarded, leaving passengers feeling helpless and exploited.

Primo Morillo, the convenor of the advocacy group, stresses the necessity of a legislated version of the Air Passenger Bill of Rights that includes provisions penalizing airlines for misconduct.

Morillo asserts that airlines should be proactive in informing affected passengers of their rights, rather than simply providing compensation upon explicit demand. By enforcing penalties for non-compliance, the group believes the problem can be mitigated and incentivize airlines to improve their systems and customer service.

To ensure airlines are held accountable, the advocacy group proposes the crafting of a new law on Air Passenger Rights that explicitly states the consequences for excessive flight cancellations. Under their proposed framework, hefty fines would be imposed on airlines if flight cancellations reach a total cost of P50 million or affect 10,000 passengers, whichever milestone comes first.

If the total cost reaches P500 million or the number of affected passengers reaches 100,000, franchise cancellation proceedings would be initiated.

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