Philippine Airlines parent posts record loss, readies restructuring plan

June 17, 2021 - 12:37 PM
A Japan Airlines Boeing 767-300ER plane takes off as a Philippine Airlines Airbus A330-300 plane taxis on the runway of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) terminal 1 in Pasay city, metro Manila, Philippines January 11, 2018. (Reuters/Romeo Ranoco/File Photo)

MANILA —The parent company of Philippine Airlines’ booked a record 73 billion pesos ($1.51 billion) loss in 2020, up sevenfold from a year earlier, after the COVID-19 pandemic lashed the global aviation sector.

In a disclosure, PAL Holdings Inc said it is in the final stages of putting together a debt restructuring plan for the flag carrier to help it through the crisis.

Several other Southeast Asian airlines have already agreed on restructuring plans or have sought approval for capital infusions and court-assisted debt relief.

PAL Holdings said consolidated revenue at the airline fell 64% to 55.3 billion pesos last year due to travel restrictions imposed to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“Philippine Airlines will have a long way to go for recovery,” the company said.

It is working on the final stages of a restructuring plan, including court-assisted protection, to improve the capital structure and meet obligations, it said. PAL Holdings had around $6 billion in liabilities as of end-December.

Philippine Airlines, partly owned by Japan’s ANA Holdings Inc, announced in October it was slashing 2,700 jobs, or a third of its workforce. It has a fleet of 97 Boeing and Airbus aircraft, 81 of which are leased.

Operations will not be affected by any restructuring, the airline said, adding it will increase international and domestic flights as markets recover with easing travel restrictions.

Rival Cebu Air Inc, operator of budget carrier Cebu Pacific, posted a 22.2 billion pesos net loss last year.

Regional carriers like Thai Airways International Pcl and Malaysia Aviation Group have won court approval to restructure billions of dollars in debts, while Garuda Indonesia is seeking a deal to suspend loan payments to creditors and lessors.

($1 = 48.3850 Philippine pesos) —Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales Editing by Ed Davies