Airlines seek fin’l assistance

Published April 30, 2020, 12:00 AM

by manilabulletin_admin

Airlines in the Philippines are asking Congress to pass a law that would provide the industry financial support and wage subsidies as losses due to the pandemic reach ₱19 billion ($376 million).

Philippine Airlines, Inc., Cebu Air, Inc., the local unit of AirAsia Group Bhd and other members of the nation’s Air Carriers Association face about ₱7.0 billion in fixed costs a month, largely due to aircraft rentals, and about 5 billion pesos to date in refund liabilities, Vice Chairman Roberto Lim said in a phone interview.

Banks have cut off access to unused credit lines as the Southeast Asian nation’s lockdown enters a second month, he said.

Airlines and transport authorities have agreed on health, hygiene and sanitation protocols, allowing them to restart domestic flights should the government ease the lockdown on May 15, Lim said. Philippine Airlines also plans to immediately resume transpacific flights, he said.

Global passenger demand slumped by half in March, with Asia-Pacific suffering the steepest decline among regional markets at 60%, according to the International Air Transport Association.

Singapore and South Korea have thrown a lifeline to their carriers, while airlines in Thailand and Malaysia are also seeking government aid. (Bloomberg)