Flights Grounded and Passengers Stranded When Pilots Quit

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Financially struggling Philippine Airlines (PAL) had to cancel flights when about a dozen A320 pilots suddenly quit for better jobs abroad, apparently without any warning to the carrier.

Passengers on at least five flights were stranded over the weekend in Manila. The flights included one to Hong Kong and others to domestic locations, The Associated Press reports.

PAL spokesman Jonathan Gesmundo went on local TV and radio stations saying the cancellations were caused by the sudden departure of the pilots for better-paying jobs overseas, AP reports.

Gesmundo said this was not an organized group action. The carrier, he added, was adjusting its schedule and looking at bringing in other aircraft to accommodate the stranded passengers.

Meanwhile, PAL officials were called to the presidential palace for meetings with government officials to figure out how to stop the pilot exodus.

According to the Philippine Star, the country's Transportation and Communications Secretary Jose de Jesus said there could be "serious consequences on the country's economy" if issues with the flag carrier are not resolved quickly.

"It will affect trade, it will affect tourism and ultimately, it will affect our reputation," de Jesus said.

Photo, georgeparilla, flickr
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