Philippine Airlines will reduce its staff by 35% due to the COVID-19 crisis.

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Philippine Airlines (PAL), the largest Philippine airline, will launch a new round of layoffs in October, seeking to reduce its workforce by 35 percent to address the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

See also: 1,000 dollar fine in Canada for refusing to wear a mask on an airplane.

PAL currently has about 6,000 workers, so the layoffs will affect more than 2,000 employees, although the company did not offer the exact number of people who will lose their jobs in a letter leaked to some media on Monday.

At the start of the pandemic in March, when the Philippines closed its borders to foreigners and suspended almost all domestic flights, Philippine Airlines already shed 300 workers, 200 were fired and 100 opted for early retirement.

In the first half of October, the company will offer a voluntary severance package, with compensation, and in the second half of October, layoffs will begin.

See also: IATA: Airlines can’t wait for a vaccine.

PAL, which belongs to Philippine tycoon Lucio Tan, also reported that they are implementing a drastic reduction in expenses, especially in ground handling services at this time when practically their entire fleet is paralyzed.

Due to travel restrictions by COVID-19, PAL suffered in the first half of the year one of the greatest losses in its history, 22 billion pesos (US$440 million), which is added to the losses of 3 billion pesos (US$60 million) in 2019.

Rumors that both PAL and Cebu Pacific – the second largest airline in the Philippines – may go bankrupt have gained momentum in the last month, as the Philippines has imposed one of the world’s strictest quarantines for COVID-19, which limits even domestic flights after six months of pandemic.

The strict quarantine paralyzed economic activity for months in the Philippines, whose economy already entered recession in the second quarter when it plummeted 16.5%, for the first time in nearly thirty years.


Photo: Alan Wilson / Wikimedia