Home » Aviation » Hostage crisis cost PAL $80M

PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) lost an initial $80 million due to effects of the recent botched hostage rescue operation at the Quirino Grandstand which killed eight hostages, mostly Hong Kong nationals.

The expected load drop during the lean months of August and November may further aggravate financial performance.

The airline — which is also dealing with ongoing labor problems involving its flight crew — said it will continue to mount regular flights to its 26 international and 21 domestic destinations despite the adverse impact of travel advisories against the Philippines following the tragic ending of the August 23 hostage drama.

Earlier, PAL reported an income of $31.6 million for its peak months covering April to June 2010 (also representing the first three months of its fiscal year), 11% lower compared to the same period last year.

“PAL must swallow bitter pills and handle its labor issue with utmost care to survive amid the difficult and cut-throat operating environment,” PAL president and chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said.

The year-on-year decline in income came despite higher revenues for the first quarter of the fiscal year of $426.7 million, up $99 million or 30% over the same period total of $327.7 million in 2009.

During the first three months of its current fiscal year, the airline benefited from improvements in passenger traffic as well as cargo, reflecting signs of economic recovery worldwide. Higher yields generated per seat offering also complemented growth in passenger demand.

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