Sep 132013

MANILA — Cebu Pacific Air Inc. (Cebu Pacific) is closely coordinating with the government for the re-accommodation of passengers affected by the Zamboanga Airport temporary closure due to the ongoing crisis in Zamboanga city.

Lance Gokongwei, Cebu Pacific president and chief executive officer, on Thursday said at least 1,700 passengers of the airline have been affected daily since the airport has been ordered temporarily closed on Wednesday.

“We are giving them (passengers) option. They can rebook their tickets or we can refund them,” Gokongwei said in a press briefing shortly after the arrival ceremony of the airline’s newest aircraft, the long range Airbus A330 here.

He said he can only give a figure on affected passengers and begged off when asked how much the airline is losing due to cancellation of its flights to and from Zamboanga.

Cebu Pacific flies to Zamboanga four times daily from Manila, once daily from Cebu and Tawi-Tawi, three times weekly from Cagayan de Oro City, and four times weekly from Davao City.

On Friday, Cebu Pacific arranged two special flights from Tawi-Tawi to Cebu to accommodate passengers who are travelling for the Hajj Pilgrimage. Cebu Pacific’s daily flights between Zamboanga and Tawi-Tawi have been suspended since September 9.

Upon arrival in Cebu, passengers were re-accommodated on scheduled Cebu Pacific flights from Cebu to Manila on the same day, an advisory said.

The Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines, meanwhile, has extended the suspension of Zamboanga Airport operations from September 13 to 16 due to the current security situation in Zamboanga City.

Because of this, the following Cebu Pacific flights are cancelled from September 13 to 16:

5J 851/852 Manila-Zamboanga-Manila
5J 855/856 Manila-Zamboanga-Manila
5J 859/860 Manila-Zamboanga-Manila
5J 857/858 Manila-Zamboanga-Manila
5J 433/434 Cebu-Zamboanga-Cebu
5J 393/394 Davao-Zamboanga-Davao
5J 839/840 Zamboanga – Tawi-Tawi – Zamboanga
5J 845/844 Cagayan de Oro – Zamboanga – Cagayan de Oro

In its advisory, Cebu Pacific said that passengers affected by these cancellations may avail any of the following options: rebooking of flights for travel within 30 days from original departure date with no penalties, full travel fund or full refund. They may also reroute their flights to the nearest alternate station to Zamboanga.

Guests may call (02)7020-888 or (032)230-8888 for their preferred option, any time even after their flights.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on September 14, 2013.

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