Businesswoman Divina Valderrama of Quezon City almost missed her flight when she forgot to pay her travel tax at the airport. She was whiling away her time lounging at a café, engrossed at reading a book, oblivious that what she paid for her Japan trip did not include her travel tax. And she was about to go to the pre-departure area. Distraught, she immediately paid her bills and rushed out, almost in panic.
You can imagine how she looked. Who wouldn’t? The large throng of people queuing up at the counters would give anyone palpitations, especially if you have a few minutes left before boarding.
The hassle she had to go through: She was coming from the second floor with a trolley in tow. The elevator was full and took time to reach each floor. To make matters worse, she was at the opposite end of the airport. Pushing and shoving people out of her way, she was able to squeeze herself among hundreds of passengers who were also as frantic as she was. Alas, she made it in the very nick of time. But it scared the hell out of her wits. Would you like to be in the same situation? Certainly not. You can wise up, and thank the new Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (Tieza) and Cebu Pacific tandem for making everything so convenient for travelers like you and me.
The good news
Filipino residents and guests holding a Philippine passport, can now conveniently pay for the Philippine travel tax online at www.cebupacificair.com, instead of lining up at the airport. That saves you getting wrinkles and atrocious varicose veins. It’s that easy and simple to make your traveling worry-free.
The signing of memorandum of agreement for the integration of travel-tax payment and exemptions in the booking channels on all Cebu Pacific flights was made on Tuesday at the Makati Diamond Residences, Greenbelt 1, Legaspi Village, Makati City. It was attended by Pocholo Joselito Paragas, general manager and COO of Tieza and lawyer Paterno Mantaring Jr., vice president for corporate affairs at Cebu Pacific.
The airline had earlier included payment of airport terminal fee in booking flights, except for Clark. Also exempted from paying terminal fee are infants below 2 years old on the date of travel and guests connecting through Philippine airports except Manila, Cebu and Caticlan (Boracay).
The move to integrate travel tax and terminal fees into passenger fares is in line with a directive from Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines. “While the total cost paid by passengers who booked flights on Cebu Pacific became slightly higher, this system innovation is total convenience for travelers. They no longer have to line up at the counters. This integration of all fees at the point of booking will make things simpler and easier for the traveling public,” Mantaring said.
He noted that the move is very relevant and timely given the need to decongest air terminals and give utmost convenience for growing volume of travelers.
Cebu Pacific has an extensive airline network covering over 100 routes across 26 international and 37 domestic destinations, spanning Asia, Australia, the Middle East and the United States.
The Department of Tourism (DOT) hailed the move of integrating all airport fees into departing passengers’ airline-ticket payments, saying this will ease the queuing and delays at airport terminals. “This is in pursuant to the 10-point agenda of the President, especially in facilitating processes and systems in the government. Hopefully, the traveling public would appreciate it,” of Tourism Undersecretary Benito C. Bengzon said.
The DOT pushed for the removal of the “processing fee” once imposed by the Tieza for the issuance of certificates of travel-tax exemption and reduced travel tax. “These initiatives address the long-standing choke points that beset tourism growth, such as physical airport capacity, travel facilitation and passenger mobility,” according to Tourism Secretary Wanda Corazon T. Teo.
Getting better every time
In May 2008 Cebu Pacific was named as the world’s No. 1 airline in terms of growth. The airline was also ranked fifth in Asia for Budget Airline passengers transported and 23rd in the world. The airline carried a total of almost 5.5 million passengers in 2007, up 57.4 percent from 2006.
On July 2008 Cebu Pacific was the first airline to use the new Terminal 3 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport, with its flight to Caticlan being the first to depart at 5:15 local time. On August 1, 2008, it moved its international operations to the terminal, thus, becoming the first airline to have regular international commercial flights from the new terminal.
In August 2009 Cebu Pacific became the first airline in the Philippines to use social media and created a fanpage on Facebook and Twitter. In 2010, Cebu Pacific became the Philippines’s largest airline based on number of passengers flown on domestic and international routes.
According to Civil Aeronautics Board data, Cebu Pacific flew 2.45 million total passengers in the first quarter of 2010, nearly 110,000 more than Philippine Airlines, which carried 2.34 million system-wide during the same period.
On January 6, 2011, Cebu Pacific flew its 50 millionth passenger, from Manila to Beijing. The airline aimed to reach the 100 million passengers mark in 2015.
Cebu Pacific is planning to commence international long-haul flights to the Middle East, the United States, Australia and some parts of Europe using the Airbus A330-300. The first long-haul flight was launched in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates on October 7, 2013. It is also applying for rights for a daily service to Auckland, New Zealand.
In June 2011 Cebu Air Inc. announced that it was purchasing 30 Airbus A321 neos and seven Airbus A320s for $3.8 billion, allowing it to more than double its fleet by 2021 and expand its international routes. The A320s would be delivered between 2015 and 2021, while the A321neo fleet would arrive from 2017 to 2021.
The airline also took 10 additional options for the Airbus 321neos. Previous
outstanding orders for 18 A320s to be delivered through 2014 brought the total Airbus order to 55.
In June 2015 at the 2015 Paris Air Show, the airline announced an order for 16 ATR 72-600 aircraft to meet growing demand for interisland services.
Tieza is the principal government agency responsible for the timely collection of travel taxes. Its mandate is to develop, manage and supervise tourism infrastructure projects in the country, as well as supervise and regulate cultural, economic and environmentally sustainable development of tourism-enterprise zones.
The money collected by Tieza is distributed in the manner provided by the national government. Five percent of the total collection is earmarked for development of historic, cultural, religious and heritage sites and prime tourist destinations.
Another 5 percent of revenues are also allotted for the improvement of ecotourism sites in emerging provinces with strong tourism potentials.