Lucio Tan’s Philippine Airlines, the Gokongweis’ Cebu Pacific, and Mikee Romero’s AirAsia have not returned the money of travel agencies that have struggled since the cancellation of flights due to a lockdown in March.
In a statement, Philippine Travel Agencies Association president Ritchie Tuaño said its member travel agencies are still waiting for refunds amounting to P315.55 million from airlines.
Tunao said the amount of refunds is expected to be higher as only half of its members have responded to the outlook survey the association conducted in late September.
“We want our member travel agencies to have the ability to immediately refund their clients whose flights were cancelled while at the same time have enough flexibility to slowly resume operations,” he said.
The PTAA appealed to the public’s understanding on the refund from travel agencies as they too are still waiting for their refund.
“Considering that three of the top five airlines that have yet to provide refunds, it gives us pause to evaluate the pending refunds further. We want our member travel agencies to have the financial capacity to resume their operations normally,” Tuaño said. The other top airlines with The most unpaid refunds are Emirates and All Asia Nippon Airways.
While travel agencies have been moved to Category III status that now allows them to operate, they need to be convinced that revenues should at least cover overhead costs if they resume operations.
Tuaño said refunds from airlines from the cancelled flights of the last seven months came only in trickles which is why the PTAA will continue to pressure them so the travel agencies, in turn, can return the money of their respective clients.
According to the PTAA’s Outlook Survey, 87 percent of its members will offer their services again, 71 percent believe they will benefit from the travel bubbles, and 85 percnet will change their pricing strategy.
In the meantime, the PTAA is working to help its members gain access to the financial assistance and soft loans from the Bayanihan 2 package. (Eileen Mencias)