CEBU Pacific’s ground handling service provider 1Aviation Groundhandling Services Corp. (1AV) said it will be laying off over 1,000 employees in its second wave of job cuts, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to discourage air travel.

“Affected employees are over 1,000,” 1AV Human Resources Head Gilbert D. Enriquez said in a phone message Thursday.

He said the company has “close to 5,000” workers.

In April, 1AV also decided to let go of over 400 newly-hired employees, after the government-imposed travel restrictions and the “severe decline” in demand for air travel.

In a statement Thursday, 1AV said that even as passenger air travel has resumed with the easing of travel restrictions, the current number of flights of Philippine carriers is “a far cry” from the numbers last year.

“The decline in demand for air travel and resulting drop in the number of routes and frequencies have directly impacted 1AV, since our core business is ground service support for the aviation industry,” it said.

The company has stopped hiring to deal with the current business environment.

It has also restricted overtime work and deferred salary increases.

The company said the uncertainty brought about by the pandemic “will continue to impact the aviation industry for many months ahead.”

“Most forecasts show that it will take about two years before the aviation industry recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it added.

“With a heavy heart, we are left with no other recourse but to let go of 25% of our total workforce. Their last day as employees will be on July 20, 2020,” the company said.

Those workers, 1AV said, will be given priority once hiring resumes when business picks up.

In 2018, Cebu Air, Inc., the listed operator of Cebu Pacific, sold 60% of its shares in the ground handling services company to the Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions, Inc. led by Jefferson G. Cheng. — Arjay L. Balinbin