Philippine Airlines (PAL) will reduce its workforce by 2,300 by mid-March as it continues to reel from the effects of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and is finding difficulty paying off its huge debts.
In a statement, PAL said fewer flights and prevailing travel restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic has forced it to reduce by 30 percent its current workforce, which will be carried out by both voluntary separation and retrenchment.
“This has been an extremely difficult and painful decision. For our colleagues who are leaving, rest assured that we are committed to support you through this transition,” PAL president Gilbert Santa Maria said in a statement on Tuesday.
“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,” he added.
PAL is Asia’s oldest airline and was once owned by the government. It is now owned by Lucio Tan with Japan’s ANA Holdings as minority shareholder.
PAL Holdings Inc., the operator of PAL, said it recorded losses reaching P29.03 billion as of September last year, which is a 370-percent increase from the P7.86 billion losses recorded a year earlier.
The debt stock of PAL Holdings, based on data from wsj.com, is P18.53 billion in short-term debts while the current portion of its long-term debt stood at P29.71 billion at the end of 2019.
Due to its ballooning debt stock and the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on PAL, the holding company sought the help of the Department of Finance in November last year.
“PAL informed the DoF (Department of Finance) team of their plans last week but gave no details on any assistance they may need from us,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said in a Viber message on November 25.