Philippine Airlines lets go of 300 workers

Philippine Airlines

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines has laid off some 300 employees as part of its retrenchment program as the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) continues to dampen its revenues.

Philippine Airlines announced on Friday that it axed 300 of its employees representing 5 percent of its workforce due to revenue losses over the high volume of canceled and suspended flights.

“Under the program, PAL implemented a voluntary separation initiative for long-serving employees and a retrenchment process completed on February 28, resulting in the separation of about 300 ground-based administrative and management personnel,” the company said in a statement.

“The streamlining will strengthen the company in the wake of losses sustained in 2019, aggravated by the ongoing travel restrictions and flight suspensions to areas affected by COVID-19,” it added.

The carrier said that affected workers will receive appropriate separation benefits, additional trip pass privileges, and assistance in the form of career counseling and outplacement support.

Previously, the airline allowed passengers to rebook, reroute, or refund their ticket payments to South Korea after the Philippine government imposed a temporary travel ban for tourists.

Only permanent residents, Filipino students, and overseas Filipino workers were allowed to travel provided that they sign a form indicating that they were aware of the potential risks in the said country.

Philippine Airlines’ parent firm PAL Holdings Inc. has yet to release its full-year 2019 financial performance, but basing on its third-quarter financial report, the firm saw its net loss attributable to parent widen by 104 percent to P5.16 billion from the P2.5 billion recorded in the same period in 2018.

Net loss alone more-than-doubled to P4.97 billion from P2.46 billion year-on-year.

For the first nine months of the year, PAL Holdings’ net loss attributable to parent firm jumped by 116 percent to P8.5 billion as compared with the P3.9 billion registered in the same period a year ago.

The company said among other initiatives it was doing to boost revenues was streamlining its route network, offering new ancillary products, implementing more aggressive cost-management efforts, and investing in digital technology.

Several Southeast Asian-based airlines were also streamlining their businesses to offset the impact of coronavirus, including offering free domestic flight tickets and putting fares on sale.

In Thailand, Nok Air announced it had let go of four pilots and reduced the per diem allowance of some 500 crew members and pilots.’