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PHL AirAsia starts bringing back ‘hibernated’ workers

Philippines AirAsia, Inc. on Thursday said it is gradually bringing its inactive employees back to the workplace to meet the growing market demand.

The low-cost carrier intends to gradually reintegrate around 432 employees who were placed under “hibernation” at the height of the public health crisis.

“What we want to assure our guests is that during the process of reintegration, there will be no shortcuts, and we will continue to uphold the highest standards of safety in all of our training and procedures,” Philippines AirAsia Chief Executive Officer Ricardo P. Isla said at a virtual briefing.

Nine out of 11 destinations on Philippine AirAsia’s network have opened their doors to leisure travelers. The aviation industry has been severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in widespread travel restrictions.

“The gradual activation will initially cover 15% of the hibernated work force, mostly pilots and cabin crew to undergo recurrent training starting this December, while the remaining 85% will be progressively integrated back into line during the first quarter of 2022 subject to market demand,” the airline said.

The passengers it carried in the third quarter had more than doubled to 181,342 from 67,672 in the same period a year ago, as destinations on its network eased their restrictions.

“We will continue to be cautiously optimistic by making sure we always strike a balance between cash burn and market demand,” Philippines AirAsia Chief Financial Officer Ray C. Berja said.

“Our goal has always been to double down on productivity to manage cash flow and operate on break-even points to efficiently manage cash burn,” he added.

The airline said it would “double and triple” its current weekly flight frequencies to most destinations such as Caticlan, Iloilo, Tacloban, Bacolod, Tagbilaran, Puerto Princesa, Kalibo and Cebu.

The low-cost carrier intends to retain its presence in Cagayan De Oro, Davao, Zamboanga, and General Santos. — Arjay L. Balinbin

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