Cusi blames airlines for killing shipping routes with cutthroat fares: After slaying competition, PAL, Cebu Pacific jack up tickets beyond reach of poor travelers
Energy Secretary Al Cusi is blaming the local airline industry, dominated by Lucio Tan’s Philippine Airlines and John Gokongwei’s Cebu Pacific, for the demise of key shipping routes that have served as the backbone for cheap travel of poor Filipinos coming from far flung provinces such as Davao to Manila.
In a breifing in Ilocos Norte, Cusi backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to revive the Davao-Manila route which he claimed was killed by predatory pricing of airlines.
“Tama po ‘yung project ninyo (Duterte) na ibalik po ang biyahe ng barko, Davao-Mindanao to Manila. Nawala po ‘yan kasi po nung pumasok po itong low-cost carrier na bumaba po ‘yung presyo ng eroplano. Noong bumaba po — dahil nilalabanan po nila ‘yung sa shipping, hindi po naka-kuwan itong shipping, hindi naka-sustain. But that was the time na bumaba naman po ‘yung airline rates,” said Cusi.
After driving out the competition with their cutthroat prices, Cusi said the airlines – PAL and Cebu Pacific are lead partners in the super consortium bidding to control the Ninoy Aquino Internaltional Airport – started to jack up prices to the detriment of poor passengers who could not afford to pay for airline tickets.
“Ngayon nawala po itong shipping na ito, ‘yung rates naman po ng airline ang tumataas. So tamang-tama po, kung maibabalik ninyo ‘yan, mapipilitan na rin po kayo na ibaba ‘yung presyo ng sa airlines,” said Cusi.
Duterte said he felt sad for his poor townmates in Davao City because shipping routes like Davao to Manila have disappeared while airline fares have become so expensive.