Lack of support, layoffs make prospects for PH airlines’ recovery bleaker
Airline layoffs would slow the recovery of Philippine aviation and hurt its competitiveness in the world stage, a ranking industry executive said.
Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (Acap) vice chair Roberto Lim said the government needed to consider the strategic role local carriers play both as an enabler of economic growth and provider of crucial public services to Filipinos in times of crisis. “We also see the aviation sector as a natural resource. We should not only focus on the impact now but also look at how it would recover in the future to continue delivering its public service obligations and missions,” Lim said in a recent Senate hearing
Lim said local airlines were being tapped to transport Filipinos to their home provinces. Philippine Airlines has also mounted missions around the world to bring OFWs home. Local airlines—along with carriers around the world—are facing their worst crisis in generations as the COVID-19 pandemic devastates demand for air travel. Recent record cases of COVID-19 infections are roiling the industry further due to new restrictions and a cap on international arrivals at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport.
Lim said domestic airlines had slashed some 5,000 jobs, or a third of their workforce, since the global health crisis began last year.
Many of these included highly skilled employees with years of experience, he added.
“Losing these people means it will take a long time to build the organization back when recovery comes,” Lim said.
Lim, who earlier pointed out that several foreign governments had provided significant financial support to their ailing national carriers, said airlines in the country were “left alone to survive.”
“Philippine local carriers have not received any big monetary stimuli and support compared to our neighbors,” he said. “Relying solely on private resources will prolong their ability to recover and compete effectively and expand for that matter.” INQ
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