Anomalies in Kalibo airport fees probed | Inquirer News
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Anomalies in Kalibo airport fees probed

/ 12:20 AM April 07, 2016

Civil aviation authorities are investigating reports of irregularities in the collection of terminal fees amounting to hundreds of thousands of pesos at the Kalibo International Airport (KIA) in Kalibo, Aklan province.

Martin Terre, airport manager, said a team from the Civil Security Intelligence Service of the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) had arrived from Manila last week and began the probe.

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“I cannot give any information because the investigation is ongoing,” Terre told the Inquirer. But he confirmed that airport personnel were being summoned.

The KIA caters mainly to tourists bound for the world-famous Boracay Island. It is the country’s fourth busiest airport next to those in Manila, Cebu and Davao. In 2014, it received 2,321,162 passengers.

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Discarded tickets

Daily, an average of 2,000 people boarding international flights and 2,500 boarding domestic flights use the KIA, according to Terre.

The CAAP investigation was triggered by a report that terminal fee collectors, in connivance with other airport personnel, were pocketing the fees by recycling used and discarded tickets and remitting only a portion of the take, according to a well-placed source, who requested anonymity due to the sensitivity of the issue.

“The amount is at least P600,000, but that could be very small because the scheme is believed to have been going on for months if not years,” the source told the Inquirer.

Current airport terminal fees are P200 per domestic flight passenger and P700 for international flight passenger. This would mean that an average of P1.9 million (P1,400,000 for international flights and P500,000 for domestic fights) in terminal fees were collected daily at the KIA.

Terminal fees are still collected in flights originating in most airports, unlike those in the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, where the fees are paid upon ticket booking.

The source said the discarded terminal tickets or those thrown into garbage bins were being recycled and given to other passengers so that the number of issued tickets would be lower.

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Personnel of airlines and other airport employees could also conniving to lower the number of passengers, the source said.

“Apparently, they share the loot among themselves. It is estimated that they get at least P50,000 daily,” the source said.

The airport employees believed to be involved in the scheme belong to a specific operational shift, during which the recycling of tickets is done.

Their extravagant lifestyle has also aroused the suspicion of other personnel.

“One has a luxury vehicle and others usually bet large amounts in cockfights. You can’t afford these when you earn less with a salary of less than P400 daily,” the source said.

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TAGS: fees, Kalibo International Airport, Kia, Probe
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