Philippine Airlines (PAL) said Tuesday (2 February) that it was cutting about 2,300 employees, representing about 30 percent of the airline’s workforce, by mid-March. The cuts include both voluntary separations and involuntary firings, the airline said and are a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic’s effects on the aviation industry worldwide.
“This has been an extremely difficult and painful decision,” said PAL President Gilbert Santa Maria. “For our colleagues who are leaving, rest assured that we are committed to support you through this transition. We extend to you our deepest gratitude for your years of hard work and dedicated service, and we will always cherish the ties you have established with the PAL family.”
Prior to the latest firings, PAL used temporary furloughs and flexible working arrangements to hold off job cuts and ensure that employees continued to receive salaries and benefits, particularly medical benefits, during the height of the pandemic.
PAL said air travel was “still far from pre-pandemic levels”, adding the airline was currently operating less than 30 percent of its normal pre-pandemic number of weekly flights. Since March 2020, PAL has suspended capital expenditures, reduced management salaries, deferred lease payments and slashed non-essential expenses.