Poe: Renewal of Air PH franchise provides optimism on aviation, tourism

Published December 17, 2021, 2:49 PM

by Joseph Pedrajas

Sen. Grace Poe on Friday, Dec. 17, said the approval of the renewal of the legislative franchise of Philippine Airlines’ ‘Air Philippines Corp.’ raises the optimism for the growth and rebound of the transport and tourism sectors amid the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.

Poe made the remark after the Senate on Thursday approved on third and final reading House Bill 10442, which renews for another 25 years the franchise granted to Air Philippines Corporation that does business under the name of Airphil Express, PAL Express and Philippine airlines.

“Globally, the aviation sector is one of the hardest hit by the ongoing pandemic. We must do our part to help an industry that employs thousands of Filipinos,” Poe, chairperson of the Senate public services committee, who also sponsored the bill, said.

Under PAL Holdings Inc., Air Philippines Corp. operates as PAL Express and is the third largest airline in the country. It has 770 employees and supports another 1,600 jobs in related industries. It mainly services secondary gateways and has been supportive of government efforts in promoting such gateways as Clark and Kalibo.

While Air Philippines Corp. saw its passenger load factor decrease by 70 percent in 2020, it managed to stay in the black at the cost of laying off 32 percent of its workforce.

“With the renewal of Air Philippines’ franchise, the legislative had done what it needed to do so it can fly high and rehire the people it lost and create more jobs,” the senator said.