AirAsia Philippines will start rehiring some of its laid-off employees by the second quarter of next year as capacity rebuilds from the onslaught of the pandemic with domestic services expected to return to 90 percent of pre-pandemic levels by the first quarter.
“Rehiring employees is a top priority. As a matter of fact, rehiring will likely happen by the second quarter (2022) as we serve more destinations,” AirAsia Philippines CEO Ricky Isla said in a virtual briefing.
“There will be more aircraft, more flights. So the first thing we will (do) is to rehire pilots, cabin crews, engineers and maintenance people,” he added.
AirAsia had to retrench 624 employees to cope with the pandemic, which decimated air travel.
Isla, however could not say how many workers would be rehired.
” We cannot give you the details at this point, right now we are looking at a workforce that will match our aircraft and be sufficient to serve more destinations,” he said.
By the end of the year, AirAsia Philippines CFO Ray Berja said the company expects to get back around 15 percent of its pre-COVID capacity.
“By first quarter next year, we opt to achieve 90 percent pre-COVID domestic capacity. During the summer, hopefully we can achieve 100 percent pre-COVID because we will open new domestic destinations towards the second quarter,” he said.
AirAsia flies daily from Manila to Boracay, Cebu and Tacloban. It also flies four times weekly to Iloilo and thrice weekly to Davao, Bohol and Zamboanga, and and two times weekly to Puerto Princesa, Bacolod and General Santos City.
With the easing of travel restrictions last month, AirAsia has seen an improvement in its load factor, rising to 73 percent as of the middle of October. Top destinations include Bacolod, Bohol, Cebu and Boracay.
The no-frills airline is also eyeing to start flying to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand by December.