PAL says 'cost control strategies' to cushion pandemic's impact on operations

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 23 2020 04:07 PM

PAL says 'cost control strategies' to cushion pandemic's impact on operations 1
Philippine Airlines plane at Terminal 1, Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Pasay City, April 13, 2018. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA -- Philippine Airlines on Thursday said it is implementing "cost control strategies" to ensure continued operations as the coronavirus pandemic curbed global and local travel. 

"This will include a delay in the delivery of new aircraft, suspension of capital expenditures, adoption of a skeleton work force, slashing senior management salaries and non-essential expenses," the country's flag carrier said in a statement. 

Philippine Airlines reported a comprehensive loss of $183.1 million or P9 billion for the first quarter this year, as it was "severely" hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. For January this year, it posted a net income of P1.8 billion.

"To address the impact of the flight shutdown that persisted into April and May, PAL's shareholders have infused new capital and endorsed an aggressive strategy to generate revenues and control costs, as the flag carrier gears up for a new normal in air transportation," it said.

PAL said it operated 640 local and international cargo flights carrying medical and food supplies since March. It also mounted 222 sweeper and repatriation flights across Asia, Europe, Africa, Oceania and North America. 

A number of regular weekly commercial flights to the United States, Japan, Canada, UK, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Southeast Asia, greater China, Australia and some domestic destinations were also restored starting June. 

PAL's network will offer 122 weekly domestic and international flights by the start of August, with plans to progressively increase routes and flight frequencies as travel demand recovers.

"All flights are operated under a strict set of "Fly Safe, New Normal" public health measures....every PAL aircraft is equipped with an advanced air flow system that refreshes cabin air every few minutes and employs High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to screen out viruses and bacteria, on top of intensive disinfection of aircraft surfaces before and after every flight," it added.

The pandemic hit the aviation industry hard, as it restricted movement and travel.

Cebu Pacific earlier said it would lay off more than 800 employees by August while AirAsia Philippines announced it would lay off 12 percent of its work force or some 264 workers as it grapples with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns.

Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said some 5 million Filipinos could lose their jobs due to the pandemic. Up to 10 million jobless workers is also a "possibility," he said.