Philippine Airlines on Tuesday asked the government to raise the limit on international arrivals at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport to help the economy rebound from the pandemic.
“We only allowed 2,000 people into Manila for all airlines. Before the pandemic, it was 40,000 a day in Manila. There was a huge reduction,” PAL president and chief operating officer Gilbert Santa Maria said during the Pandesal Forum.
He also requested the government to lift some restrictions on vaccinated passengers to allow them to travel.
“For the sake of our economy, I beg the decision maker to listen to our economy and set up prudent policies that are very supportive of our economy. What’s the use of locking down to have zero COVID if the economy would be dead,” Sta. Maria said.
PAL senior vice president and chief strategy and planning officer Dexter Lee said the airlines should get back consistently at least 50 percent of flights to break even in terms of operating cost.
PAL steadily built up operations in recent months, now averaging 27 percent of the pre-pandemic flights on 70 percent of its route network.
It plans to increase flights to San Francisco, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Guam, Singapore, Dubai, Doha, Nagoya and Fukuoka by late October, while continuing special flights to Auckland, Vietnam and points in Australia.
More flights to Honolulu and Taipei will come online by the last week of November.
The airline’s winter season schedule also includes regular flights to New York JFK, Seoul, Saudi Arabia, Vancouver, Toronto and other Asian destinations.
PAL said that on domestic routes, it would add flights to Iloilo, Legazpi, Butuan, Puerto Princesa, Bacolod, Dumaguete and Roxas City. PAL’s Cebu hub will see additional frequencies between Cebu and Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Bacolod, Butuan and Davao.
PAL recently secured an approval from US Bankruptcy Court in New York to access the first $20 million from a $505-million loan facility to support operations. The airline plans to exit from the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy process by end of the year.
It also filed for recognition in the Philippines as required under the Philippine Financial Insolvency and Rehabilitation Act of 2010.
PAL reported total comprehensive loss amounting to P18.04 billi1on in the first half, down 18 percent from P22.02-billion comprehensive loss in the same period last year.
Consolidated revenues in the six-month period declined by 51 percent to P18.04 billion from last year’s P36.82 billion because of the effects of the lingering COVID-19 pandemic which started in mid-March last year.