Philippine Airlines (PAL) saw a boardroom shakeup on Thursday with the surprise exit of siblings Michael Tan and Vivienne Tan, children of billionaire and PAL owner Lucio Tan.
The changes came about as the country’s flag carrier—along with the rest of the global aviation sector—faces severe challenges due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
Through industry group Air Carriers Association of the Philippines, PAL is seeking the government’s help in the form of emergency long-term loans and credit guarantees “to stem the catastrophic impact of the pandemic on the aviation industry.”
Proposed government stimulus packages have yet to be finalized but Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III had indicated openness to supporting critical sectors under strict conditions.
In an unusual turn, reporters were barred from covering the separate stockholder’s meetings of Philippine Airlines Inc. and publicly listed PAL Holdings Inc., which was held online on Thursday.
A company source later said PAL Inc. board members Vivienne and Michael were no longer part of the company’s board for the ensuing year. No reason was immediately given, however, the siblings retain key roles in other parts of the Lucio Tan Group. Michael is president of LT Group while Vivienne holds
The remaining board members of PAL Inc. are Lucio and Carmen Tan, PAL president Gilbert Santa Maria, Mark Chen, Rowena Chua, Johnip Cua, Florentino Herrera III, Juan de Zuniga (replacing Manuel Lazaro), Ryuhei Maeda (representing Japan’s ANA Holdings), Lucio Tan III, Samuel Uy, Gregorio Yu and Marivic Moya as corporate secretary.
A day before, Vivienne, John Tan and Chen withdrew their nomination as directors of PAL Holdings, citing “personal reasons.”
The remaining members nominated to PAL Holdings’ board are Lucio Tan, Carmen, Santa Maria, Lucio Tan III, Joseph Chua, Maeda, Cua and Yu.
Despite the crisis, PAL managed to stay afloat with the capital infusion from the Tan family.Santa Maria said in May that Lucio Tan had infused into the company P15 billion, which helped the firm survive the strict lockdown period over the summer months of 2020.
Also on Thursday, PAL said it was reducing investments and expenses. The moves calls for delays in the delivery of new planes, cuts in senior management pay and slashing nonessential expenses.
During the pandemic, PAL continued essential cargo and repatriation flights.
PAL Holdings said losses in the first quarter of the year widened to P9.4 billion from P838.2 million a year ago.Passenger ticket sales fell 21.4 percent during this period.