Home » Aviation » PAL: Open skies a good option if strike pushes through

PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) is supporting the adoption of the open skies policy in case of a strike at the airline.

In a statement, PAL said it welcomes President Benigno Aquino III’s decision to consider opening the country’s skies to foreign carriers if the labor dispute between PAL management and its cabin crew and employees remains unsettled.

“The President’s pronouncement is a wake-up call for both PAL management and its cabin crew union to immediately solve the CBA (collective bargaining agreement) impasse,” PAL chief operating officer Jaime Bautista said. “We hear the President’s call that we must find solutions to avoid any inconvenience to the riding public.”

The Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association is expected to file a notice of strike to protest against management’s so-called unfair labor practices, including the mandatory 40-year retirement age for cabin crew.

PAL has insisted that non-economic benefits such as the retirement age and other peripheral issues be discussed in the next round of CBA talks.

In April, the PAL Employees Association also filed a notice of strike before the labor department to protest PAL’s plan to spin off and outsource three non-core units. The spin-off is expected to affect about 2,600 employees.

Fair and reciprocal

Bautista said, “Let’s make it clear: PAL is not against open skies. We just want it to be fair, reciprocal and its implementation should be phased in and calibrated.”

The flag carrier specifically welcomed calls for more relaxed access to the Philippines for all airlines with existing capacity rights to Clark, Cebu, Davao and other areas.

PAL noted open skies should also be viewed in the context of available infrastructure such as NAIA’s congested single runway, overburdened terminals and the country’s negative image as a tourist destination.

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