"Rehiring employees is our top priority. (Rehiring them would likely be) by the second quarter next year, as we will serve more destinations and more aircraft (will be utilized)," he said in a virtual presser.
AirAsia Philippines had to let go of 624 employees because of the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.
Isla, however, said he cannot tell at this point how many of them could be rehired.
"We need the workforce to match the aircraft and destinations, but this will still be dependent on the (travel) restrictions," he said.
AirAsia spokesperson Steve Dailisan said those who were laid off will be the priority since they have been with the airline for a long time.
Cabin crew will be needed, but the number will depend on the utilization of aircraft.
The airline projects a 74 percent load factor during the 4th quarter of 2021 due to the easing of travel restrictions.
By December, AirAsia Philippines will also resume flying to international destinations.
"Almost all airlines in the Philippines are expecting recovery, pre-pandemic level, by the second quarter of next year," Isla said.
As for its domestic operations, AirAsia Philippines load factor is up to 73 percent during the first half of October, with Boracay, Cebu, Bohol and Bacolod as top destinations.
The carrier sees this "healthy load factor" as a sign towards a strong recovery. (PNA)