Philippine Airlines announced on Monday night that it is laying off 35 percent of its employees due to COVID-19 outbreak.
The Lucio Tan-led airline said it begun to call on employees to apply for voluntary separation, the first stage of a manpower reduction initiative that may affect up to 35 percent of the airline’s more than 7,000 personnel or 2,700 workers.
“The retrenchment is part of a larger restructuring and recovery plan as the flag carrier rebuilds its domestic and international network amid the global pandemic,” PAL said.
Last February, PAL laid off about 300 employees due to continued losses, which was aggravated by the ongoing travel restrictions and flight suspensions to areas affected by COVID-19.
Since March 2020, PAL has suspended capital expenditures, adopted a skeletal work force, reduced management salaries and slashed non-essential expenses to control costs.
PAL added that its shareholders have infused capital and provided funding to sustain the airline’s liquidity.
“At the height of the pandemic, PAL chose to implement temporary furloughs and flexible working arrangements to maintain jobs as long as possible,” PAL said.
“ However, the collapse in travel demand and persistent travel restrictions on most global and domestic routes have made retrenchment inevitable, with PAL currently operating less than 15% of its normal number of daily flights after eight months of lockdowns,” it added.
PAL said the retrenchment program will combine voluntary and involuntary measures, to be carried out within the current fourth quarter of 2020.
PAL,however, assured employees that the measures will be carried out in a fair manner that complies with all legal requirements and with support for outplacement assistance.
The airline said it continues to mount special repatriation flights to help bring home stranded Filipinos from the Middle East, Europe, North America and all over Asia, as well as all-cargo services to meet the essential cargo transport needs of the public and support economic supply chains.
PAL recently flew its second repatriation flight from Beirut carrying OFWs fleeing the troubled Lebanese capital.
PAL Holdings Inc., PAL’s parent firm, earlier reported total comprehensive loss of P22.02 billion in the January to June period, up by 631.56 percent from P3.01 billion losses in the same period last year.