MANILA – About a third of the employees of the airline industry left their jobs amid the pandemic, an industry group said Wednesday.
“Over the past 18 months, one third ng employees ng local carriers ang nawala, either nag-resign, nag-retire, early retirement,” Air Carriers Association of the Philippines executive director Roberto Lim said in a TeleRadyo interview.
(Over the past 18 months, a third of the employees of local carrier left—they either resigned, retired, or availed of early retirement.)
“At yung natitirang two-thirds marami doon naka-furlough kasi empleyado sila pero hindi sila tumatanggap ng suweldo…parang nasa bahay lang muna.”
(As for the other two-thirds, most of them are on furlough—they are employees but they are not getting paid…they’re just at home.)
Lim said airlines have decided to keep their employees as long as they possibly can. He stressed, however, that they are struggling financially as their coffers didn’t get much of a boost from government.
“Under Bayanihan kasi, medyo maliit ang natanggap namin no, P800 million in terms of waiver ng mga fees. When we compare this to our neighbors napakaliit nito, at napakalaki naman ng natanggap ng mga other airlines in the region and in other countries.”
(Under Bayanihan, we only got a small amount: P800 million in terms of waiver of some fees. When we compare this to our neighbors, and the other airlines in the region and other countries got bigger amounts from their government.)
“Eh yang mga foreign airlines na ‘yan, kakumpitensiya natin. Siyempre mas mahirap ang kumpitensiya kung may subsidy at perang nabigay sa mga foreign airlines,” he explained.
(Those foreign airlines are our competitors. It’s harder to compete when the subsidy given to other airlines is bigger.)
Lim said they welcomes the decision of the Philippine government to update its list of green countries, allowing more travelers to enter the country.
He said, however, that he hopes the government will expand this list.
“Kailangan natin dagdagan yung mga countries…green countries para mas lumuwag ang travel to and from the Philippines and these countries,” he said.
(We need to expand the list of green countries to further ease travel to and from the Philippines and other countries.)
“We are hoping na, between now and December, madagdagan yung mga bansa na masama sa green countries para mas madali ang travel.”
(We are hoping that, between now and December, more countries will be added to the green list.)
The travel agency sector on Wednesday said that prospects are looking good for the tourism industry as more borders are opening up and some COVID-19 restrictions are starting to ease.
“For sure, that is what we can call, a light at the end of the tunnel. So medyo naliliwanagan ang industriya namin ngayon sa pag-asa na nagre-relax yung mga protocol, nago-open up din ang mga destinations,” said Ritchie Tuaño, past president of the Philippine Travel Agencies Association and general manager of the Asia Reps Travel Services Incorporated.
(Our industry sees hope with protocols relaxing and destinations reopening.)
--TeleRadyo, 20 October 2021