Some 2,400 staff across the three airlines under Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group will be retrenched as the embattled national carrier cuts 4,300 jobs amid the coronavirus pandemic and virus prevention restrictions around the world that have crippled its operations.
After taking a recruitment freeze, natural attrition and voluntary departures involving some 1,900 staff into account, SIA Group will lay off 2,400 staff from SIA, SilkAir and Scoot in Singapore and overseas stations.
The organisation said today (10 Sept) that the decision was “taken in light of the long road to recovery for the global airline industry due to the debilitating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the urgent need for the Group’s airlines to adapt to an uncertain future.”
Pointing out that it is in a more vulnerable position compared to most major airlines elsewhere since it doesn’t have a domestic market, SIA Group said that it will operate a “smaller fleet for a reduced network” in the coming years, compared to its pre-COVID-19 operations.
It added that industry groups have forecast that it may take until 2024 for passenger traffic to return to what it was before the virus hit.
Promising to work closely with the unions to minimise the stress on its staff who are set to be laid off, SIA Group said: “Discussions have begun with our Singapore-based unions. The Group will work closely with them to finalise the arrangements as soon as possible for those affected, and try to minimise the stress and anxiety on our people.”
Sharing that SIA’s priorities from the outset of the health crisis was to ensure survival while saving as many jobs as possible, the airline’s CEO Goh Choon Phong said:
“Having to let go of our valuable and dedicated people is the hardest and most agonising decision that I have had to make in my 30 years with SIA. This is not a reflection of the strengths and capabilities of those who will be affected, but the result of an unprecedented global crisis that has engulfed the airline industry.”
Adding that the retrenchment process will be conducted “in a fair and respectful manner,” Mr Goh said that SIA Group will “do our best to ensure that they receive all the necessary support during this very trying time.”