PAL operator sinks deeper into the red with ₱73B losses in 2020

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, June 17) — The operator of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL) may not have seen the worst of the coronavirus pandemic yet as it continues to suffer losses, bleeding by ₱73 billion in 2020 alone.

The losses incurred last year were way higher than the ₱9.7 billion recorded in 2019 as its operations were "severely affected", PAL Holdings said in its financial report released on Thursday to the Philippine Stock Exchange.

READ: PAL, Cebu Pacific seen to survive COVID-19 bankruptcy fears

Revenues dropped to ₱55.26 billion in 2020 compared to the ₱154.53 billion a year earlier as the virus scared off travelers, coupled with government leaders' decision to close their borders or limit the operations, the company reported further.

While PAL Holdings was able to cut its consolidated operating expenses by 46% to ₱81.84 billion from ₱151.66 billion amid limited flight operations, it said this was offset by weaker revenues in the period.

Over a year into the COVID-19 crisis, the group is not yet out of the woods as it also booked losses in the first three months of 2021 totaling ₱8.57 billion, slightly down from the ₱9.27 billion in the same period last year.

As a move to boost revenues, PAL has added more regular flights, in addition to new all-cargo services and special repatriation flights to North America, the Middle East, Asia, and across the Philippines.

The group said its comprehensive restructuring plan is now in "the final stages".

"PAL management will make the necessary disclosures at the proper time, once details are finalized," it said in a separate disclosure Thursday.

"We are confident that the restructuring will enable PAL to strengthen its capital structure, meet stakeholder obligations and position the company for long-term success," the group added.

Reports floated anew in May about PAL's alleged plan to seek bankruptcy protection—a move seen to help the flag carrier survive the coronavirus pandemic as it faces severe financial difficulties.

PAL, however, remains mum on the alleged plan.

The company had also conducted mass layoffs to cut expenses.

RELATED: PAL to let go of 2,300 workers by mid-March