Shareholders stand by PAL as pandemic pummels airline sector
MANILA, Philippines — Taipan Lucio Tan’s Philippine Airlines Inc. said its shareholders remain committed to supporting the flag carrier through the COVID-19 pandemic even as losses widened so far this year.
“The airline’s shareholders continue to provide funding support as PAL continues to undertake revenue-generating and cost control measures as part of its business restructuring initiatives in the coming months,” PAL said in a statement over the weekend.
Losses are expected for the aviation sector after travel restrictions triggered a collapse in demand for flying.
PAL posted a comprehensive loss of $159.3 million in the third quarter of 2020 versus a $98 million loss during the same period in 2019, the statement showed.
But figures on a quarterly comparison this year showed improvements.
PAL said losses in the third quarter eased by 30 percent from the $228 million loss in the second quarter. The previous period was when airline fleets were grounded for extended periods as the Philippine government imposed strict lockdown measures.
Total revenues in the third quarter also increased by 75 percent to $184.8 million versus the second quarter of 2020. Expenses went up 16 percent to $105.8 million on a quarterly basis, due to the increase in business activity.
“The results reflected an increase in regular commercial flights as well as special cargo and repatriation services that helped boost PAL’s third-quarter performance,” PAL said.
PAL said in its statement, however, that it has restored just 17 percent of its pre-pandemic flights on average.
The airline carried 339,000 passengers during the third quarter, higher than the 92,000 that flew in the second quarter.
PAL, which is operated by publicly-listed PAL Holdings Inc., is currently implementing a major business restructuring and recovery program. This also includes job cuts affecting about 35 percent of its workforce or over 2,700 employees.
The manpower reduction came amid the slow arrival of aid from government stimulus programs meant to combat the pandemic’s impact on the economy.
PAL Holdings, which is partly owned by Japan’s ANA Holdings, also recorded deeper losses.
The airline holding company said losses from January to September reached P28.85 billion from P8.5 billion during the same period in 2019 as crucial passenger revenues fell 65 percent.