The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group announced yesterday (September 10) that it will cut around 4,300 jobs at its three airlines, Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot.
However, the number of employees affected can be reduced to 2,400 due to various measures.
For example, a “recruitment freeze” in March meant that many vacancies were not filled.
In addition, cabin crews who may have had personal reasons to leave the company were offered a Voluntary Release System (VRS).
"Together, these measures have enabled the group to cut around 1,900 jobs," said the company.
As a result, the potential downsizing in Singapore and the SIA overseas bases can be reduced to 2,400.
In a press release, the SIA group said it will work closely with the cabin crew concerned to finalize the agreements "as soon as possible for those affected" and to try to "minimize the stress and anxiety they are exposed to" .
In a Facebook post, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said the government would help to support the staff affected by the downsizing at SIA.
He noted that the aviation sector had received "the strongest government support" but the layoffs could not be extended.
“SIA has also raised significant capital with the support of its majority shareholder. They have delayed this downsizing as long as possible, but with air traffic decimated by COVID-19, it has unfortunately become inevitable, ”Ong said.
Operation with less than 50 percent capacity
Image credit: Skift
In March of this year, the airline announced that it would only operate 50 percent of its planned capacity by the end of April.
It is expected that the capacity compared to the prepandemic will continue to be below 50 percent of the capacity.
The airline noted that industry experts were forecasting that passenger traffic would not return to previous levels until around 2024.
"Compared to most of the world's major airlines, the SIA group is in an even more vulnerable position as there is no domestic market to be the first to recover," it said.
Due to Singapore's small land area, this is not required for other airlines' domestic flights.
The long road to recovery
As of March 2020, more than 6,000 of Singapore Airlines' 27,000 employees have taken unpaid vacation days.
The airline then announced that it had arranged temporary and secondary employment agencies for its employees.
This was part of the myriad of cost-cutting measures the airline had put in place to stay afloat during the pandemic.
In August the group announced that all employees below the management level would receive a 10 percent wage cut. Those in higher positions received higher wage cuts, with the CEO cutting his salary by 35 percent.
This year the airline posted a record loss of S $ 1.12 billion in the first quarter.
In addition, the company spent half of its S $ 8.8 billion stock sales in two months.
Goh Choon Phong, CEO of SIA, said in a message to his employees that "the road to recovery will be long and full of uncertainty".
Having to let go of his employees was the “hardest and most painful decision” he had to make in his 30 years with the company.
Selected image source: Anshuman Daga via Reuters