AirAsia slashes 12% of local jobs

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Philippines AirAsia, Inc. on Friday said it had reached a tough decision to cut 12% of its Filipino staff while senior employees had offered a pay cut to help the low-cost carrier stay afloat.

“Despite all our efforts to curb the effects of the pandemic, AirAsia has made the difficult decision of reducing the company’s workforce, but has done everything to keep the number of affected employees to a minimum, totalling 12% of all Filipino Allstars,” it said in a statement.

It said the aviation industry had been hit hard by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, and that the budget airline was no exception.

“In our effort to further manage and contain costs, both the management and senior employees of AirAsia Group have volunteered a salary sacrifice, ranging from 100% at the very top to 15%,” it added.

AirAsia said the move would help ensure that the company could ride out a prolonged period of “extremely low travel demand” while minimizing the impact on its employees, especially those in junior posts.

On Friday, Philippines AirAsia cancelled its Cebu flights as it kicked off the first day of its domestic flight resumption.

“We had hoped to also mount our flights from Manila to Cebu and Clark to Cebu, but sad to say, there were new developments that came in last night, so we had to cancel these flights,” said David F. de Castro, AirAsia Philippines communications head, in the Laging Handa virtual briefing, Friday.

Mr. de Castro said the cancelation was decided in coordination with the Inter-Agency Task Force and aviation authorities.

The Department of Health coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) tracker showed that as of June 4, 138 new cases were reported in Central Visayas, bringing its total confirmed cases to 2,957.

Despite the cancellation, the airline on Friday was still able to resume flights on its domestic routes, beginning with a flight from Manila to Cagayan de Oro.

“Hopefully soon, in the coming days, papaliparin na rin papuntang (we’ll be able to fly to) Cebu, Davao, Puerto Princesa,” he said.

He added that AirAsia maintains its plans to eventually open international flights in July.

“For the international flight, we expect na mag-re-resume tayo (that we’ll resume) by July,” he said.

“Buhay na muli ang ating aviation industry, slowly but surely dadami ang ating flights.” (The aviation industry is back, slowly but surely there will be more flights)

The industry had been allowed to operate again at limited capacities, along with other modes of public transportation, upon the easing of the Luzon-wide lockdown on June 1.

The entire Luzon had been placed on a lockdown since mid-March, suspending work, classes, and public transportation. — Arjay L. Balinbin and Charmaine A. Tadalan