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PAL to lay off up to 35% of over 7,000 workers

Flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) announced that it has started its call for voluntary separation, which may affect "up to 35%" or around 2,500 of its over 7,000 personnel.

In a statement on Monday, October 5, PAL said the voluntary separation call is the "first stage" of its manpower reduction scheme.

The retrenchment, according to PAL, is part of its "larger restructuring and recovery plan" as it weathers through the coronavirus pandemic.

"At the height of the pandemic, PAL chose to implement temporary furloughs and flexible working arrangements to maintain jobs as long as possible," the airline said.

"However, the collapse in travel demand and persistent travel restrictions on most global and domestic routes have made retrenchment inevitable, with PAL currently operating less than 15% of its normal number of daily flights after 8 months of lockdowns."

The retrenchment program will combine voluntary and involuntary measures, which will be implemented within the 4th quarter of 2020.

PAL spokesperson Cielo Villaluna told Rappler that she would not expound on the details of the program "due to the sensitive nature" of the matter.

Back in February, the beleaguered airline laid off 300 workers.

During the 1st half of the year, PAL president Lucio Tan had pumped around P6 billion in capital into the airline to keep it afloat, as losses topped P20 billion.

The International Air Transport Association expects global airline traffic to fall by 66% in 2020. It predicted traffic will not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2024. – Rappler.com

Aika Rey

Aika Rey covers the Philippine Senate for Rappler. Before writing about politicians, she covered budget, labor, and transportation issues.

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