Philippine Airlines to slash jobs as virus curbs bite

(FILES) This file photo taken on April 19, 2020 shows passenger planes from carrier Philippine Airlines parked on the tarmac of Manila’s international airport as air travel to and from the Philippines was suspended after the government implemented a lockdown in its efforts to contain the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. – Philippine Airlines said late on October 5, 2020 that the flag carrier will cut a third of its workforce by yearend as it reels from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by STR / AFP)


MANILA, Philippines (AFP) — Philippine Airlines will cut around a third of its workforce by the end of this year as part of an overhaul triggered by crippling coronavirus travel restrictions.

The pandemic has devastated the global aviation industry, forcing airlines to seek government bailouts, furlough workers and slash jobs.

“The collapse in travel demand and persistent travel restrictions on most global and domestic routes have made retrenchment inevitable,” the airline said Monday, announcing the loss of up to 35 percent of its more than 7,000 employees through voluntary resignations and forced layoffs.

“The retrenchment is part of a larger restructuring and recovery plan as the flag carrier rebuilds its… network amid the global pandemic.”

Commercial flights were grounded for more than two months during the country’s lockdown, which sent the economy into recession and left millions out of work.

Philippine Airlines said it was operating less than 15 percent of its normal number of daily flights after eight months of restrictions.

PAL Holdings, the listed parent of the airline, sank deeper into the red in the first half with a net loss of 20.75 billion pesos ($428.6 million). That compared with a 2.98 billion peso net loss in the same period last year.

The announcement comes as the Philippines takes tentative steps to revive its battered tourism industry by allowing domestic travellers to visit Boracay island, famed for its white sand beaches.

Strict protocols require tourists to test negative for Covid-19 before they can travel to the popular holiday destination.

The Philippines has the highest coronavirus caseload in Southeast Asia, with more than 324,000 confirmed infections, including more than 5,800 deaths.

© Agence France-Presse