By Ernie Reyes
MANILA – Sen. Grace Poe is optimistic that the franchise renewal of Air Philippines Corp. will support growth in the transport and tourism sectors and help buffer the negative impact of the corporate rehabilitation proceedings in the US involving its sister company, Philippine Airlines (PAL).
“The past two years had been extremely difficult for our airlines as they were grounded for a long period without income,” Poe said.
The Senate approved on third reading and final House Bill No. 10442 that gives Air Philippines Corp. the franchise to fly for another 25 years.
“Globally, the aviation sector is one of the hardest hit by the ongoing pandemic. We must do our part to help an industry that employs thousands of Filipinos,” said Poe, chairperson of the Senate public services committee and sponsor of the bill.
Under PAL Holdings Inc., Air Philippines Corp. operates as PAL Express and is the third-largest airline in the country. It has 770 employees and supports another 1,600 jobs in related industries. It mainly services secondary gateways and has been supportive of government efforts in promoting such gateways as Clark and Kalibo.
While Air Philippines Corp. saw its passenger load factor decreased by 70 percent in 2020, it managed to stay in the black at the cost of laying off 32 percent of its workforce.
It has helped bring home thousands of overseas Filipino workers and locally stranded individuals and delivered personal protective equipment and vaccine doses to the provinces amid the pandemic.
“With the renewal of Air Philippines’ franchise, the legislative had done what it needed to do so it can fly high and rehire the people it lost and create more jobs,” Poe said. (ai/mtvn)