One of the oldest air carriers in Asia, Philippine Airlines, is reportedly planning to reduce its fleet and file for bankruptcy restructuring amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic setbacks.
According to insider sources, quoted by Bloomberg on May 14, 2021, Philippine Airlines is considering a Chapter 11 filing in the United States in order to restructure. As part of the restructuring, Philippine Airlines is reportedly in talks with lessors to return at least two out of six Airbus A350s and four out of ten Boeing 777 aircraft in order to reduce its fleet and cut costs. The two Airbus A350s are reportedly in process of being returned to the lessors.
Currently, the airline has a total of 70 aircraft in its fleet, as per planespotters.net data. The largest part of the fleet consists of Airbus-manufactured aircraft: 31 Airbus A321s and 15 Airbus A330 aircraft. Adding to that, it also operates 10 Boeing 777s, eight Airbus A320s, and six Airbus A350s.
Philippine Airlines has reported losses since 2017. For the period of January-September 2020, it posted a net loss of 29 billion pesos ($605 million). The airline has yet to disclose its full-year 2020 results and a financial report for the first quarter of 2021.
In March 2021, Philippine national airline announced that it had laid off approximately 30% of its workforce (about 2,300 workers) amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that had massively affected the aviation sector.
“While demand for air travel slowly returns, the airline states that it is still far from pre-pandemic levels. PAL currently operates less than 30% of its normal pre-pandemic number of weekly flights,” read the airline’s statement.
The national air carrier of the Philippines, Philippine Airlines founded in 1941 is one of the oldest air carriers in Asia, existing longer than most notable Asian airlines such as Cathay Pacific (1946), Korean Air (1969), Singapore Airlines (SIA1) (SINGY) (1972) or Air China (1988).