The Department of Tourism (DOT) yesterday disclosed that major airlines have agreed in principle to the integration of the terminal fee into departing passengers’ airline ticket payments.
DOT Secretary Wanda Teo said the consensus transpired during the third consultation meeting held at the DOT main office, attended by officials of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAAP) and airline executives.
Under the plan, the domestic passenger service charge (DPSC), commonly known as terminal fee, will be collected by the airlines as part of ticket payment in an effort to ease the queuing and delays at airport terminals.
DOT Undersecretary for Development Planning Benito Bengzon, Jr., who chaired the exploratory talks between DOT, CAAP and the airlines, said “this one is pursuant to the 10-point agenda of President Rodrigo Duterte. He has mentioned, time and again, the importance of facilitating processes and systems in government. In this case, we are working together with the different airlines and our partner government agencies in making it easier for the traveling public. And we do that by integrating the various fees that are collected.”
He noted, however, that adequate lead time is required before getting the word out, which includes at least a month for the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to prepare to ensure “the level of acceptance and support would be higher.”
The local air carriers and CAAP board must first agree with the terms and conditions in the memorandum of agreement (MOA) presented by DOT.
“Hopefully, once we finalize the Memorandum of Agreement we can have the principals all sign the document, and we can make that big announcement, which I am sure the traveling public would appreciate,” Bengzon added.
Local carriers, including Philippine Airlines (PAL), Cebu Pacific (CEB Air), Sea Air, Sky Jet, and Air Juan, and Air Asia are expected to submit the draft MOA in time for CAAP’s board meeting next week.
If approved, the plan would be implemented in all airports under the CAAP’s management. There are 81 CAAP terminals, but only thirty-eight (38) terminals are doing commercial operations and collecting terminal fees.
Recently, the DOT pushed for the removal of the “processing fee” once imposed by the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) for the issuance of certificates of Travel Tax Exemption and Reduced Travel Tax.
According Secretary Teo, “These initiatives address the long-standing choke points that beset tourism growth, such as physical airport capacity, travel facilitation and passenger mobility.”