By Denise A. Valdez

THE CIVIL Aeronautics Board (CAB) is asking Cebu Pacific operator Cebu Air, Inc. to submit additional requirements as the regulator on Thursday conducted its first formal hearing on the carrier’s recent wave of flight cancellations.

CAB Executive Director Carmelo L. Arcilla said in a telephone interview on Thursday that the CAB had scheduled a second hearing with the budget carrier on May 6, Monday, to determine if penalties are warranted.

“We are not yet done…,” Mr. Arcilla said.

“We required them to submit other explanations. For example, we want them to submit a process analysis of what is happening in the airport, starting from the time that the passenger arrives, what happens to the aircraft before it takes off,” he explained.

“We want to understand where the problem lies.”

He recalled that Cebu Pacific representatives said “[t]hey do not want to prolong the inconvenience of the riding public, so they decided to cancel flights.”

Cebu Pacific officials would not comment when asked about the hearing.

Cebu Pacific has been cancelling “approximately 10 flights a day” for the month of May, on top of the 23 flights it had already cancelled from April 28 to 30.

It said in a disclosure to the stock exchange on Tuesday that it is reducing its daily operations of 400 flights this month to “create space in its schedule for operational recovery.”

“Cebu Pacific has to temporarily reduce the number of its flights given the current operating conditions, particularly in its Manila hub,” the budget carrier had said.

In order to dispel reports linking the flight cancellations to the formation this month of a cabin crew union, the group, Juan Wing Association of the Philippines, said in a social media post on Thursday that it has been “working side by side with Cebu Pacific management” to address the situation.

“As of the moment, the cabin crew are working to the best of their abilities to assist in easing up the situation. Our cabin crew are exhausting all means to make sure that all affected guests are genuinely accommodated…” it said.

Shares in Cebu Air lost P1.80 apiece or 2.20% to close at P80.20 each on Thursday.