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Philippine Airlines plans court protection as pandemic hits finances

11/25/2020 | 04:26am

MANILA (Reuters) - Philippine Airlines plans to seek court protection from creditors while it pursues debt restructuring with government help, the finance minister said on Wednesday, as it fights to survive a pandemic that has battered the industry globally.

The loss-making flag carrier, partly owned by Japan's ANA Holdings Inc, informed the ministry of its plans last week but gave no details as to what kind of government assistance it needs, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez told reporters.

In a statement, Philippine Airlines said the company and its shareholders were working on a "comprehensive recovery and restructuring plan" that would allow the carrier to emerge from the global crisis.

The airline said it continues to gradually increase domestic and international flights as the market recovers.

Philippine Airlines, which last month announced a reduction of 2,700 jobs, or a third of its workforce, has a fleet of 98 Boeing and Airbus aircraft, 85 of which are leased.

As of end-September, the listed operator of Philippine Airlines reported 198 billion pesos ($4.12 billion) in lease and long-term debts.

Net losses in January to September surged to 28.9 billion pesos, more than three times the 8.5 billion for the same period of last year.

The airline halted operations in mid-March as the country imposed one of the world's strictest and longest coronavirus lockdowns.

Philippine budget carrier Cebu Air Inc last month announced plans to raise roughly $500 million through bonds and shares to ride out the downturn.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Martin Petty amd Elaine Hardcastle)

© Reuters 2021
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