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Philippine Airlines may miss targets due to pilot issues

3-Aug-2010 10:52 AM

Philippine Airlines President, Jaime Bautista, stated the carrier may be forced to revise this year’s target of returning to profit, following the resignation of 25 pilots (Bloomberg, 02-Aug-2010). The pilots left the company after being offered higher paying positions overseas, including Hong Kong Airlines. PAL now plans to permanently cut four domestic routes as a result, as it will take at least a year to train new pilots (AFP, 02-Aug-2010). The latest developments include:

  • Meeting: The Philippines Government held a meeting with the Airline Pilots Association of the Philippines and the carrier on 02-Aug-2010, stating it may consider easing air traffic restrictions. An agreement was not reached, but the government stated it was “very hopeful” the pilot issue can be resolved. At the meeting, PAL agreed to take back all 25 resigning pilots without any sanctions, but Mr Bautista stated the carrier could not compete with other carriers on wages (Manila Times, 03-Aug-2010). Prior to the meeting, PAL requested the government block the resigning pilots from working for foreign carriers, as they still have contracts with PAL. None of the pilots have returned to the carrier;
  • Air Force pilots: The government is also considering using Air Force pilots to operate PAL flights to allow it to continue normal operations (Gulf News, 03-Aug-2010);
  • Cebu Pacific: Three Cebu Pacific pilots are also leaving the carrier to work at Hong Kong Airlines;
  • Flight attendants: Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines (Fasap) stated Philippine Airlines flights have been operating “undermanned” for the past two years, “adversely” affecting services (Manila Times, 03-Aug-2010). Fasap also said a number of cabin crew have also transferred to foreign airlines, due to a lack of tenure security and labour issues. The union plans to hold a meeting on whether to demand a salary increase;
  • Tourist traffic: Tourism Secretary, Alberto Lim, stated the issue may affect foreign tourist arrivals (ABS-CBN, 03-Aug-2010).

Philippine Airlines: “We will try to adjust the schedule by permanently merging some flights, using larger planes while lowering the frequency of flights,” Spokesperson. Source: AFP, 02-Aug-2010.