PHILIPPINE Airlines (PAL) will suspend its Cebu-Davao-Cebu flights beginning today until Nov. 30, 2010, as newly resigned pilots continued to stay away.

The last Davao-bound flight from Cebu, PR 409, took off at 8:15 a.m. yesterday. Its return flight, PR 410, arrived in Mactan at 10:44 a.m.

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A written notice from the company said these flights will be suspended, starting today, said Arnie Follosco, PAL control station manager at the Mactan Cebu International Airport.

A report aired by radio station DyAB cited low bookings as one reason for the suspension.

Follosco said the official notice did not state that reason. He also revealed the last flight had 114 passengers, below the Airbus 330’s capacity of 156, plus two flight deck crew and a four-member cabin crew.

The notice did not confirm whether the flight will resume on Dec. 1.

“That’s the only information we’ve got from our superiors in Manila. That’s all we can tell you,” Follosco said.

Jonathan Gesmundo of the PAL corporate communications department and Simuon Canton Jr. of PAL Cebu could not be reached yesterday for details.

Last week, Gesmundo said the management was trying to continue a dialogue with 25 resigned pilots, in the hope they will agree to return to work.

Eutiquio Bulambot, director of the Philippine Airlines Employees Association (PALEA) based in Mactan, has said the pilots resigned due to the lack of job security and the availability of higher-paying jobs abroad.

Businessman Robert Go, past president of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said he hopes the suspension of the Cebu-Davao-Cebu PAL flight will not affect passenger movement too much, because there are still similar flights operated by Cebu Pacific and a PAL sister-company, Air Philippines.

In its website, PAL said flight operations returned to normal as of Aug. 3, after it rescheduled one daily flight each to Iloilo, Bacolod and Cagayan de Oro. It also said its average of 160 domestic and international flights per day “continue to operate normally and as scheduled.” (EOB)