PAL bats for more international arrivals, files for recognition under PH bankruptcy laws

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 21 2021 03:32 PM | Updated as of Sep 21 2021 06:26 PM

Philippine Airlines (PAL) planes are seen parked on tarmac in Manila International Airport in Pasay city, metro Manila September 9, 2014. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters/File Photo
Philippine Airlines (PAL) planes are seen parked on tarmac in Manila International Airport in Pasay city, metro Manila September 9, 2014. Romeo Ranoco, Reuters/File Photo

MANILA - Philippine Airlines on Tuesday urged the government to relax quarantine rules for fully-vaccinated travelers and to remove the cap on international arrivals saying it "no longer makes sense." 

PAL also confirmed that it is asking local courts to recognize its bankruptcy protection filing in the United States. 

In a forum, PAL president and COO Gilbert Santa Maria said travel restrictions for fully vaccinated passengers in domestic and international flights should be eased, including those coming from the US, Canada and the Middle East. 

“What we are asking for, is that the restrictions of travel of human beings, na bakunada na (vaccinated), within our islands and from countries like US and Canada as well as the Middle East, that the quarantine restrictions be eased to reflect scientific reality as well as maintain prudence," Santa Maria said. 

Backing the call for a more relaxed restriction for arriving travelers, Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion said in the same forum that the mandatory quarantine should be reduced to 5 from 10 days. 

"It can be seen from what PAL has shown, the risk is very low if you have your PCR test 3 days before you leave," he said.

The 2,000 limit on the daily inbound traveler arrivals in Metro Manila should also be scrapped, he said. 

The cap was originally set at 1,500 per day.

Before the pandemic, about 40,000 a day flew to Manila, Santa Maria said. But now, all airlines have to share in the 2,000 daily arrival limit.

"From our perspective, it no longer makes sense. Yung sunog nasa kusina mo na, naka kandado pa front door mo (The fire is already in the kitchen but your frontdoor is still locked)," Santa Maria said. 

The airline earlier filed for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US as the COVID-19 pandemic aggravated its existing financial problems. 

Santa Maria said the carrier has also filed for recognition under the country's Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act of 2010 or RA 10142. 

He said this was necessary to ensure that Philippine courts recognize its Chapter 11 filings in the United States. The company said most of its investors and creditors are US-based.

The Lucio Tan-led airline also assured the public it will continue its services despite financial difficulties as repatriation flights.

“Hanggang ngayon, lumilipad pa kamin ng vaccines, lumilipad pa rin kami ng OWWA repatrations, at repatrations ng overseas workers na naiipit sa labas. But the most important contribution to the economy is to link our islands, and to link our islands to the world.”

(We continue to fly vaccines, we fly OWWA repatriations and repatriations of overseas workers stuck outside the country)

PAL operator PAL Holdings Inc in 2020 incurred a net loss of P73 billion due to the "extraordinary" impact of the pandemic to the flag carrier's operations. But even before the pandemic hit, the airline was already posting losses.

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-- with a report from Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News