PAL cuts 2,300 jobs; operations down to 30%

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    Philippines Airlines (PAL) is implementing until mid-March a company-wide manpower reduction program affecting about 2,300 employees as part of its overall recovery initiatives amid the ongoing pandemic.

    PAL said the affected employees represent about 30 percent of the over 7,000 workforce.

    PAL currently operates less than 30 percent of its normal pre-pandemic number of weekly flights, held down by lowered travel demand and travel restrictions around the world and throughout the Philippines.

    The total number of workers affected includes both voluntary separation and involuntary retrenchment.

    Prior to the retrenchment, PAL implemented temporary furloughs and flexible working arrangements to hold off job cuts as long as possible and ensure that its employees continued to receive salaries and benefits, particularly medical benefits, during the height of the pandemic.

    The retrenchment program was communicated to employees as early as October 2020.

    “This has been an extremely difficult and painful decision. For our colleagues who are leaving, rest assured that we are committed to support you through this transition. We extend to you our deepest gratitude for your years of hard work and dedicated service, and we will always cherish the ties you have established with the PAL family,” said Gilbert Santa Maria, PAL president.

    PAL said the retrenchment was carried out after a comprehensive system-wide review process and is part of its overall recovery initiatives amid the ongoing pandemic that has massively affected the global airline industry.

    While demand for air travel slowly returns, this is still far from pre-pandemic levels, the airline said.

    PAL currently operates less than 30 percent of its normal pre-pandemic number of weekly flights, held down by lowered travel demand and travel restrictions around the world and throughout the Philippines.

    Since March 2020, PAL has suspended capital expenditures, reduced management salaries, deferred lease payments and slashed non-essential expenses.

    The affected employees will continue to receive their salaries and medical benefits until the effective date of separation, PAL said. Support includes outplacement assistance and employability initiatives to help ease the transition.

    Meanwhile, PAL has assured its customers and partners operations will continue without disruptions.