PAL Pilots Take Jobs With Other Carriers Forcing Flight Cancelations


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PAL Pilots Take Jobs With Other Carriers Forcing Flight Cancelations

By Jim Douglas

August 2, 2010 - Philippine Airlines (PAL) on Saturday had to apologize to its passengers as a result of many of their pilots walking off the job due to low wages.

The airline was forced to cancel a number of national and overseas flights, as the airline did not have an adequate number of flight crew to fly its Airbus A320 airplanes.  

Nearly a dozen pilots have walked off the job over the pass several weeks and have taken jobs with higher paying overseas air carriers.

The airline is unable to match those salaries offered by theses carriers to captains and copilots flying the Airbus A320.


The company has reported pilots who have resigned are in violation of their contracts with PAL as well government regulations that would require resigning pilots to give PAL a minimum resignation of six months which would give the airline time to recruit, train and place a pilot replacement in the cockpit.

PAL will has indicated that the airline will file appropriate charges against pilots who chose not to report for work immediately after submitting resignation letters.  Most of the pilots still owe PAL the cost of their aviation school training, which run into millions of pesos per pilot.  The airline is currently adjusting its schedules by merging some flights, upgrading aircraft to a bigger type in order to meet passenger demand and placing pilot who are in management back into the cockpit.  

Government officials are expected to meet with management at Philippine Airlines and Airline Pilots Association of the Philippines (Alpap) today to address this issue and help identify some solutions. President Aquino held a press conference in which he indicated today?s meeting with PAL would likely include the Transportation Secretary Jose de Jesus, Labor Secretary Rosalinda Balcoz, and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima. 

"I understand it will be two separate meetings. The end point being to address the situation and to remind everybody, PAL for instance, that they do have obligations when they secured the franchise to operate this public conveyance. The pilots also have an obligation.


"There has been disruption to our tourism efforts and to other aspects of the economy that would need their services. If this is not warranted, they lay themselves open with appropriate charges. Hopefully, we will be able to come up with a resolution so that the riding public is not inconvenienced and the economy does not suffer in what is an inter-company dispute," Aquino said. 

PAL spokesperson, Jonathan Gesmundo indicated that most of those pilots who resigned were newly hired pilots and that the pilots had given their resignation letters and then walked off the job. ?The A320 is the first jet a pilot flies after graduating from aviation school,? Said Gesmundo. Flights from Manila to Bacolod, Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro, Cebu and Hong Kong were canceled. The pilot walkout at this time does not appear to be connected to its pilots union. Although PAL?s unions have complained about the airline outsourcing jobs.   

Philippine Airlines, Inc. (abbreviated PAL), also known historically as Philippine Air Lines, is the national airline of the Philippines. 

The airline, headquartered in the Philippine National Bank Financial Center in Pasay City, was founded in 1941 and is the oldest commercial airline in Asia operating under its original name. Out of its hubs at Ninoy Aquino International Airport of Manila and Mactan-Cebu International Airport of Cebu City, Philippine Airlines serves nineteen destinations in the Philippines and twenty-four destinations in Southeast Asia, East Asia, Australia, Canada and the United States.  

Formerly one of the largest Asian airlines, PAL was severely affected by the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis. In what was believed to be one of the Philippines' biggest corporate failures, PAL was forced to downsize its international operations by completely cutting operations to Europe and eventually Southwest Asia, cutting virtually all domestic services excluding routes operated from Manila, reducing the size of its fleet and terminating the jobs of thousands of employees.  

The airline was placed under receivership in 1998, gradually restoring operations to many of the destinations it formerly serviced. PAL exited receivership in 2007 with ambitious plans to furthero its previously-serviced destinations, as well as diversify its fleet. 

Philippine Airlines is the only airline in the Philippines to be accredited with the IOSA (IATA Operational Safety Audit) by the International Air Transport Association and has been awarded a 3-star rating by Skytrax.


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