SIA Group Unable To Delay “Workforce Reduction”

The Singapore Airlines Group (SIA) announced yesterday (September 10) that it would cut around 4,300 jobs at its three airlines, Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot.

However, the number of employees concerned could be reduced to 2,400 thanks to several measures.

For example, a “hiring freeze” in March meant that many vacant positions were unfilled.

In addition, a Voluntary Release Program (VRS) was also offered to cabin crew who might have had personal reasons for leaving the company.

“Collectively, these measures have enabled the Group to cut some 1,900 jobs,” the company said.

As a result, potential job cuts could be reduced to 2,400 in Singapore and SIA bases overseas.

In a press release, the SIA Group said it would work closely with the relevant cabin crew to finalize arrangements “as soon as possible for those affected” and try to “minimize the stress and anxiety” faced by they are faced.

In a Facebook post, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said the government would help support staff affected by the SIA job cuts.

He noted that the aviation sector had received “the strongest support from the government,” 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 for as long as possible, but with air travel decimated by COVID-19, this has unfortunately become inevitable, ”Mr. Ong said.

Operating at less than 50% capacity

Singapore Airlines cuts 2,400 jobs
Image Credit: Skift

In March of this year, the airline said it would only operate 50% of its planned capacity until the end of April.

It plans to continue operating at less than 50% of its capacity compared to pre-pandemic levels.

The airline noted that industry experts predicted passenger traffic would not return to where it was until around 2024.

“Compared to most of the world’s major airlines, the SIA Group is in an even more vulnerable position as it does not have an internal market that will be the first to see a recovery,” he said.

Singapore’s small size makes it unnecessary for the domestic flights that other airlines operate.

The long road to recovery

As of March 2020, more than 6,000 of Singapore Airlines’ 27,000 employees have taken unpaid leave.

The airline then said it had arranged temporary and secondary internships for its staff.

It was part of the myriad of cost-cutting measures the airline employed to stay afloat as the pandemic raged.

In August, the group announced that all staff below management level would receive a 10 percent pay cut. Those in higher positions received larger pay cuts, with the CEO getting a 35% pay cut.

This year, the airline reported a record net loss of S $ 1.12 billion in the first quarter.

She also spent half of the S $ 8.8 billion on sales of shares she raised in two months.

SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong said in a message to his employees that “the road to recovery will be long and fraught with uncertainty.”

Having to let go of his employees was the “most difficult and agonizing decision” he had to make in his 30 years with the company.

Featured Image Credit: Anshuman Daga via Reuters

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Jothi Venkat

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