PAL to axe 2,500 more workers this qtr

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    Philippine Airlines (PAL) is laying off another 2,500 employees until the end of the year as part a larger restructuring and recovery plan.

    In a statement, PAL said it has 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.

    The retrenchment program will combine voluntary and involuntary measures, to be carried out within the quarter of 2020. This is in addition to the 300 employees retrenched early this year.

    PAL assured its employees the measures will be carried out in a fair manner that complies with all legal requirements and with support for outplacement assistance.

    Since March, PAL said, it has suspended capital expenditures, adopted a skeleton work force, reduced management salaries and slashed non-essential expenses to control costs.

    Shareholders have infused capital and provided funding to sustain the airline’s liquidity.
    At the height of the pandemic, PAL said it chose to implement temporary furloughs and flexible working arrangements to maintain jobs as long as possible.

    However, the airline pointed out the collapse in travel demand and persistent travel restrictions on most global and domestic routes have made retrenchment inevitable. PAL is currently operating less than 15 percent of its normal number of daily flights after eight months of lockdowns.

    PAL reported a P22 billion net loss in January to June this year, compared with a P3 billion net loss in the same period last year, due to the severe impact of worldwide travel restrictions following the new coronavirus outbreak.

    PAL’s international and domestic flights to and from hubs in Manila, Cebu and Clark were cancelled from March 26 to May 31 due to the quarantine restrictions for specific locations.

    PAL has resumed its limited operations last June 1, with restrictions still in place.

    The flag carrier 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.