Philippine Airlines said Tuesday it is implementing the retrenchment of 2,300 employees or about 30 percent of its workforce in the first quarter.
The airline unit of tycoon Lucio Tan said the affected employees of voluntary separations and involuntary retrenchment would continue to be employed until mid-March 2021.
“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,” said PAL president Gilbert Santa Maria.
“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 said.
Prior to the retrenchment, PAL chose to implement temporary furloughs and flexible working arrangements to hold off job cuts as long as possible and ensure that its employees continued to receive salaries and benefits, particularly medical benefits at the height of the pandemic.
Frequent communication with employees kept them updated on the status of the company. The retrenchment program was communicated to employees as early as October 2020.
PAL said the retrenchment was carried out after a comprehensive system-wide review process and was part of the company’s overall recovery initiatives amid the ongoing pandemic that massively affected the global airline industry.
It said that while demand for air travel slowly returned, it was still far from pre-pandemic levels.
PAL operates less than 30 percent of its normal pre-pandemic number of weekly flights, held down by lowered travel demand and travel restrictions around the world and throughout the Philippines.
PAL has suspended capital expenditures, reduced management salaries deferred lease payments and slashed non-essential expenses since March 2020.
The affected employees will continue to receive their salaries and medical benefits until the effective date of separation.
PAL’s support includes outplacement assistance and employability initiatives to help ease the transition.
PAL assured customers and partners that operations would continue without disruptions. It said it would continue to gradually increase international and domestic flights as demand recovers.
It said it continued to mount special repatriation flights to help bring home stranded Filipinos from the Middle East, Europe, North America and Asia.
PAL also operates all-cargo services to meet the essential cargo transport needs of the public and support economic supply chains. PAL said it would also support the transportation of COVID-19 vaccines once they are available.