Philippine Airlines lays off 300 workers

Philippine Airlines (PAL) terminated some 300 employees, as the company incurs losses primarily due to the travel bans caused by the novel coronavirus.

"The streamlining will strengthen the company in the wake of losses sustained in 2019, aggravated by the ongoing travel restrictions and flight suspensions to areas affected by COVID-19," PAL said on Friday, February 28, referring to the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The airline said that it implemented a "voluntary separation initiative" for long-serving employees and a retrenchment process on Friday.

PAL said that affected employees will receive "appropriate separation benefits," as well as trip pass privileges.

Affected employees will also get career counseling and outplacement support.

"PAL continues to be focused on managing the risks related to the COVID-19 situation, in the interest of public health and safety," it said.

Parent firm PAL Holdings earlier told the Philippine Stock Exchange that it registered a total comprehensive loss of over P3 billion in the 1st semester of 2019, a sharp 355% increase from the total loss of P661.6 million during the same period in 2018.

PAL reported consolidated expenses amounting to P77.75 billion in the six-month period of 2019, 3.3% higher than the previous year's total of P75.27 billion.

The novel coronavirus that originated from Wuhan, China, has so far killed over 2,800 and sickened over 83,700 people across the country and worldwide. The World Health Organization already declared an international emergency over the virus.

As of Friday, the Philippines has recorded 3 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, all of them Chinese. One died, while the other two recovered.

The DOH has also probed 621 patients in the Philippines for possible infection. Of this number, only 30 remain admitted to heath facilities nationwide, while 588 have been discharged. – Rappler.com

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.

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