THE Civil Aeronautics Board (CAB) said it will conduct a public hearing on Wednesday to discuss the application of a new student fare discount law on air travel.

In a notice on its website, the aviation regulator said it is holding a public consultation on Sept. 18 on the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the recently signed law requiring student fare discounts on all public transportation.

Republic Act (RA) No. 11314, or the Student Fare Discount Act, seeks to grant a 20% discount for students on domestic regular fares. The law indicates that for air travel, the discount applies to the base fare, or the price of the ticket without taxes and ancillary charges.

Each public transport regulator is tasked to help draft the IRR for their respective modes of conveyance, including the CAB, the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, the Maritime Industry Authority; and the Department of Transportation (DoTr) for rail.

Aside from coming up with a process to verify entitled beneficiaries, the IRR is also expected to detail additional relief measures for the operators of transportation utilities.

RA 11314 authorizes regulators to “determine and provide under the IRR… alternative ways, such as, but not limited to, reduction or exemption from some regulatory fees and charges, to provide additional relief or support… with the end view of mitigating the impact of the discount given.”

Airlines that do not offer a 20% discount to students after the IRR is finalized are subject to fines of P50,000 to P150,000 for failure to implement the law. Other sanctions may also be resorted to depending on the outcome of the IRR drafting process.

Prior to the implementation of RA 11314, the DoTr exempted students from terminal fees in airports handled by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines starting Aug. 1. This is part of the department’s initiative to support commuting students, aside from free train rides in selected hours and free terminal fees at government-operated sea ports. — Denise A. Valdez