Philippine Airlines, which announced in early February that it was cutting off 2,300 employees from its workforce, celebrated the first day of its 80th birthday today hopeful. It assured the flying public of its staunch commitment to continue serving as flag carrier, and that it is working towards full recovery.
It will be remembered that the airline announced a company-wide employee reduction program a few weeks back, affecting around 30 percent of its workforce, as a result of the Covid crisis continuing to weigh down on the travel industry.
"Our message to our country and the world: Buhay pa tayo. Andito pa tayo. At hindi tayo aalis,” PAL President and COO Gilbert Santa Maria said in a statement after a eucharistic celebration welcoming PAL's 80th anniversary at dawn today, March 15, 2021. “This great lady - Philippine Airlines - will stay aloft while she is in our care."
The open air Mass, held at the grounds of the south wing of NAIA Terminal 2, was attended by management officials and representatives from various PAL departments and guests.
Despite the challenges of the pandemic, PAL has of late been focusing on repatriation and cargo transport efforts as well as rebuilding its network of commercial flights on key international and domestic routes.
Beginning March last year, the airline carried home 310,000 of the displaced 420,000 Filipinos overseas because of the pandemic. Within the same period, tens of thousands of foreign nationals flew back to their home countries via PAL. At present, the airline is airlifting shipments of anti-COVID vaccines to various areas in Mindanao, Luzon and the Visayas.
The flag carrier has restored regular commercial flights to the U.S., Canada, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and several Asian countries as well as most of its domestic trunk and inter-island routes.