Philippine transport advocacy group urges affected travelers to sue CAAP

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A Philippine transport advocacy group is urging passengers affected by the major Air Traffic Control (ATC) outage that occurred in the Philippines on January 1, 2022, to sue the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP).

The Passenger Forum describes itself as “commuter network and mobility advocacy group campaigning for the protection of passenger rights and welfare”. In a statement seen by local media, The Passenger Forum said that CAAP must be held liable for making “the worst New Year air transport situation in the country’s history”.

Primo Morillo, the group’s convener, said that affected passengers cannot claim compensation because the flight cancellations and delays were not caused by airlines. Morillo also added that the current Air Passenger Bill of Rights in the Philippines only provides compensation when airlines are at fault.

“This is probably the worst New Year for Filipino air passengers. Instead of going back happy from festivities and family gatherings, they were greeted with flight delays and cancellations. Worse, as airlines are not to blame, they cannot get any compensation,” Morillo said.

Morillo added: “With this airport glitch, we cannot blame anyone but the government institutions in charge of ensuring the smooth operations of air traffic in the country. As the CAAP is a GOCC (government-owned and controlled corporation), they have their own funds and thus, they must pay for the damages incurred by their shortcomings.”

The number of passengers affected by the New Years’ Day ATC outage is estimated to be 56,000. 

According to local media Inquirer.net, when flights were grounded on January 1 2023, there were rumors that the problems were caused by a power outage that affected the Communications, Navigation and Surveillance Systems for Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) operated by the CAAP.

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