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CebPac’s ground handling unit 1Aviation lets go over 400 probationary employees

The ground handling services firm which serves the flights of budget carrier Cebu Pacific has let go of hundreds of newly-hired staff as the air transportation sector reels from restricted and dwindling demand for air travel.

“It was a painful decision. We had to let go of over 400 newly-hired employees,” 1Aviation Groundhandling Services Corp said in a statement.

Cebu Pacific created 1Aviation in 2018 after the Manila International Airport Authority refused to renew the contract of MIASCOR Groundhandling Corp. due to incidents of baggage theft.

The budget carrier later on sold the majority or 60% of 1Aviation to Jefferson Cheng-led Philippine Airport Ground Support Solutions (PAGSS).

“It has become clear we do not know when the airline industry, on which our business depends, will be able to resume its operations at its pre-COVID-19 levels,” 1Aviation said.

“As such, 1AV has made the very hard decision not to process the regularization of our probationary employees,” it said.

Nevertheless, the company said it has taken “extra efforts” to treat affected employees fairly and have given them a package equivalent to two months’ pay, “which is more than what the law requires.”

“If the business picks up in the future, we also assured them that they will be prioritized in the hiring,” it said.

The Air Carriers Association of the Philippines (ACAP) —comprised of Cebu Pacific, Philippine Airlines, and Philippines AirAsia —has sought financial intervention from the government as the local aviation sector’s survival is in peril due to the disruption of air travel brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“As everyone knows, the aviation industry has taken the brunt of the COVID-19 epidemic’s impact on our economy. It has supported our government in their efforts to contain the spread of the virus which understandably included travel restrictions,” 1Aviation said.

“These travel restrictions, together with a severe drop in demand for air travel, have severely impacted 1AV operations as a ground service support company completely dependent on the aviation industry,” it said.

The company noted that the said factors have compelled it to scale down its operations.

“This step is on top of measures previously undertaken, such as project and capex freeze, hiring freeze, overtime restriction, and deferment of salary increases,” 1Aviation said. —LDF, GMA News