PAL aims to win back lost cargo volume


Philippine Airlines (PAL) is going on a massive sales blitz to take back cargo volume that landed with competitors because of PAL’s ongoing labor problems.

The carrier is working through a rough transition period where three of its non-core units, including cargo handling, had recently been outsourced. This has resulted in wildcat strikes by union members which have disrupted operations and cancelled a number of domestic and international flights.

PAL international cargo sales manager Jerry Calaluan said the airline will launch a massive marketing campaign to lure back clients.

“We have just resumed all our flights to international destinations over the weekend. We need to do sales blitz to all our clients to regain the cargo business lost due to the cancellations of our flights,” Calaluan told PortCalls.

“Furthermore, there is a need to assure them of our continued service… but I know it will take some time to recover important accounts lost to other airlines,” Calaluan said.

PAL is one of the country’s key cargo carriers, airlifting 139,284 tons in its last fiscal year, up 9% over the previous year.

PAL cargo operations were suspended since the September 27 work stoppage staged by the PAL ground crew union that led to a down scaling of PAL operations just before the implementation of the spin off/outsourcing program on October 1. Since then several of PAL’s major cargo clients have transferred to other airlines with PAL unable to offer reliable services.

Over the weekend, PAL president Jaime Bautista said the airline has resumed cargo services in all its domestic, Asian and inter-continental flights operating out of Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 2 in Manila.

“We’re now accepting cargo bookings for all international flights, including wide-body domestic flights that operate out of Terminal 2,” Bautista said.

“It’s another concrete sign that PAL has turned the corner towards normalizing our operations after the transition phase of our outsourcing program,” he added.

“The resumption of cargo service is a boon to freight forwarders and exporters who benefit from the flag carrier’s high-capacity, wide-body aircraft and extensive domestic and international network.”

Among the first to be loaded are 100 boxes of bananas from ABS CBN Davao weighing 1.5 tons. Carried on PR814, the non-revenue cargo was consigned to ABS CBN’s Sagip Kapamilya for distribution to flood victims in Tarlac and Calumpit, Bulacan.

Operational problems

But as this developed, the Manila International Airport Authority on Monday said PAL cancelled a total of 53 international and local flights due to “operational problems”.

Also on Monday, PAL requested for heavier police presence in and around NAIA Terminal 2 due to numerous complaints of harassment and acts of violence against PAL volunteers and service providers.

The airline said it requested the Aviation Security Group and Southern Police District to deploy more policemen especially in areas where PAL workers pass on their way to and from work.

Last Sunday, 65 foreign and domestic flights of PAL were also canceled due to the same problems.


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