Travel agencies seek P315 million airline refunds

a large passenger jet sitting on top of a tarmac at an airport: Travel agencies seek P315 million airline refunds

© Rudy Santos, file
Travel agencies seek P315 million airline refunds

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Travel Agencies Association (PTAA) is asking airlines to provide P315.6 milion in refunds for cancelled flights since mid-March when government started to impose travel restrictions.

This amount was based on a survey conducted by the group in September.

According to the survey, the top five airlines with pending refunds are Philippine Airlines, Cebu Pacific, AirAsia, Emirates and All Nippon Airways. There are 35 airlines with pending refunds.

“Considering that three of the top five airlines that have yet to provide refunds fly the domestic route, it gives us pause to evaluate the pending refunds further,” PTAA president Ritchie Tuaño said.

“We want our member travel agencies to have the financial capacity to resume their operations normally,” he said.

Tuaño said airline refunds from cancelled flights over the last seven months have been coming in trickles.

He said the PTAA would continue to pressure them so that travel agencies can return them to their respective clients.

“Although travel agencies have been moved to Category III status, they might still be cautious about resuming operations until such time there is reasonable demand for travel that will allow them to sufficiently cover the overhead cost of their operations,”Tuaño said.

“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 even as the country is still dealing with the pandemic,” Tuaño said.

Aside from the travel refunds, the PTAA has been working for its members to gain immediate access to the financial assistance and soft loans as provided in Bayanihan 2.

The tourism industry has been allocated P10 billion under the Bayanihan 2 Act.This includes P1 billion for tourism road infrastructure to be implemented with DPWH; P100 million for DOT-accredited and LGU licensed tour guides; and P3 billion to be administered by the Department of Labor and Employment for cash-for-work program to help Department of Tourism-accredited enterprises and their displaced employees.

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