MANILA -- The Department of Transportation (DOTr) is threatening to file charges against Philippine Airlines (PAL) for its unpaid navigational fees and other charges amounting more than PHP7 billion.

In its statement late Wednesday, the DOTr said that the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) has PHP6.965 billion collectibles from PAL as of July 30, 2017.

The local airline carrier likewise owes the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA) PHP 322.1 million as of Tuesday.

The department had sent letters to PAL since August 2016 demanding full payment of all unpaid charges upon instruction of Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade.

“As a result, discussions were undertaken with PAL to reconcile invoices and documents, which led to PAL's payment to CAAP of PHP 370 million. PAL also requested to discuss the possibility of paying its arrears in 7 years. All such requests have been denied. Thus, final demand for full payment of all unpaid charges has been sent to PAL, preparatory to the filing of appropriate legal action in order to protect the interest of government,” according to the DOTr.

For its part, PAL said that it is seeking to settle with the government its unpaid dues estimated to amount more than PHP6 billion.

“Communications have been open between the parties as regards this matter. For the past months, both CAAP and PAL have been working together to validate these claims in their mutual and collaborative effort to settle this obligation. PAL has fully cooperated and will continue to cooperate with any and all agencies to resolve this concern.”

It has received letters from CAAP demanding payment of unpaid navigational charges in the amount of PHP 6.3 billion in August 2016.

"The issue on alleged unpaid navigational charges involves complex legal issues which PAL has been trying to thresh out with CAAP for years. In fact, the same legal issues were the subject of a court case between PAL and the MIAA years back where the court ruled in favor of PAL,” the airline said in its statement.

According to the airline, CAAP has created an inter-agency panel of negotiators for the proposed settlement via CAAP Authority Order 149-17.

PAL stated that it has submitted its offer which is more than the amount covered by the CAAP supporting invoices received by the airline. To date, PAL has not received any official response from CAAP on its offer.

“We look forward to meeting the negotiating panel and we are ready to submit a compromise agreement to settle this issue once and for all,” PAL said. (PNA)