Cebu Pacific to lay off more employees

Aika Rey
Cebu Pacific to lay off more employees
It is still unclear how many more Cebu Pacific employees will lose their jobs, but the layoffs will be 'across functions, roles, and departments'

MANILA, Philippines – Budget carrier Cebu Pacific will be laying off more employees across the board, as the airline industry reels from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that at least 30% of the 4,000-member workforce, or around 1,200 employees, could be affected by “layoffs or voluntary separation.”

When asked for confirmation, Cebu Pacific communications director Charo Logarta Lagamon sent a statement confirming what the airline called “rightsizing.”

“Cebu Pacific is undergoing a transformation process that aims to ensure the long-term sustainability of the business, given the expected changes in travel demand and consumer behavior. We expect travel recovery to happen over a longer period, with COVID-19 negatively impacting the aviation industry,” she said in a statement sent to Rappler.

“The rightsizing of Cebu Pacific will be necessary to fulfill our commitment to provide affordable and accessible air transport services to every Juan in the years to come.”

Layoffs will affect employees “across functions, roles, and departments,” Lagamon said. She added that the details have yet to be finalized.

This is the latest blow to the airline industry as demand for air travel plunged after the coronavirus spread across the world earlier this year, from the ground zero of the outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Domestic flights in the Philippines resumed only in June when the capital region was placed under modified enhanced community quarantine, but these remained limited. Physical distancing must also be in place during flights, forcing airlines to leave half of plane seats vacant.

Back in March, Cebu Pacific laid off 150 newly hired cabin crew when Metro Manila was first placed under lockdown. Cebu Pacific executives had voluntarily taken pay cuts at that time.

On June 18, the budget carrier’s ground handler 1Aviation Groundhandling Services Corporation announced that over 1,000 employees were laid off.

Other airlines have been badly hit as well. In late February, flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) terminated some 300 employees to avoid further losses.

AirAsia Philippines had to slash jobs by 12% too, laying off 260 employees.

In a bid to help the industry, Philippine aviation authorites deferred charging airport fees for the year, including landing, takeoff, and parking fees.

The Air Carriers Association of the Philippines estimated that the industry needs some P8.6 billion in government subsidy per month to survive.

Prior to the pandemic, Cebu Pacific and PAL were in the middle of upgrading their fleet with new Airbus planes. – Rappler.com

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Aika Rey

Aika Rey is a business reporter for Rappler. She covered the Senate of the Philippines before fully diving into numbers and companies. Got tips? Find her on Twitter at @reyaika or shoot her an email at aika.rey@rappler.com.