City urges flag carrier to reconsider plan

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Wednesday, September 26, 2012


THE country’s flag carrier, Philippine Airlines (PAL), will soon withdraw its flights in Cagayan de Oro.

Councilor President Elipe reported during Tuesday’s regular session that higher officials of PAL are already discussing the implementation of their intention to withdraw scheduled in December.

Elipe said PAL’s decision would have an adverse effect on the economic development of the city, especially if it would result to reduced frequency of flights.

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PAL earlier said domestic flights of both Philippine Airlines and Air Philippines will be rationalized and that flights to Cagayan de Oro will now be operated by Air Philippines, which is considered a “budget airline.”

According to Elipe, if the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental will start its operation, more budget airlines will be flying the routes in the city.

“It is awkward to see budget airlines flying the route since PAL will be given to Air Phil,” he said.

In line with this, the City Council favorably supported the resolution endorsed by Elipe to ask PAL’s management to retain its flights in the city.

“Aside from it being the country’s flag carrier, many still prefer to ride PAL,” Elipe said.

Councilor Ramon Tabor also appealed to the management of PAL to reconsider the plan.

“We do not question the prerogative of PAL management. However, there are already many business transactions coming in the city,” Tabor said.

Earlier, Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus B. Rodrigues (Second district) said he already wrote a letter to the top management of PAL about this issue.

In a letter to Philippine Airlines President and Chief Operating Officer Ramon S. Ang dated September 5, 2012, Rodriguez said as representative of the second district, he is very much concerned when he learned about the plan.

Rodriguez said he have no doubts on the capability of Air Philippines to handle the flight operations to Cagayan de Oro.

However, he believed that flights to the city have to be operated by Philippine Airlines.

According to him, consumers and tourists may get the impression that Cagayan de Oro is not as important as both Davao and General Santos, which are both carried by Philippine Airlines, if the operation will be handled by Air Philippines.

“It will also affect the city’s economic growth as lesser passengers will come to Cagayan de Oro if it is not served by Philippine Airlines,” Rodriguez said in his letter.

The lawmaker believed that Cagayan de Oro is too big a market to hand off to Air Philippines.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on September 26, 2012.

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