AviationThe group will eliminate 4,300 positions across Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot, of which 2,400 will be forced redundancies.

Mass layoffs hit Singapore Airlines

Without a domestic market to kickstart recovery, the Singapore Airlines Group is more vulnerable to pandemic impacts.
Without a domestic market to kickstart recovery, the Singapore Airlines Group is more vulnerable to pandemic impacts.

The prolonged debilitating impacts of the Covid-19 crisis has led the Singapore Airlines (SIA) group to take drastic measures by slashing jobs across its airlines.

In view of the long road to recovery for the global airline industry, the Group announced that it would cut around 4,300 positions across Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot.

The number of employees affected, however, may be reduced to about 2,400 in Singapore and across SIA's overseas stations, after factoring in measures like a recruitment freeze, early retirement and voluntary departure schemes.

"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," said SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong. "The next few weeks will be some of the toughest in the history of the SIA Group."

"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," he wrote in a memo to staff.

The Group revealed that discussions have begun with Singapore-based unions to finalise the arrangements as soon as possible and minimise the stress for those affected.

The pandemic crisis have had a crushing impact on the global aviation industry, but is especially brutal for the SIA Group.

Goh said: "Relative to most major airlines in the world, the SIA Group is in an even more vulnerable position as it does not have a domestic market that will be the first to see a recovery. In order to remain viable in this uncertain landscape, the Group's airlines will operate a smaller fleet for a reduced network compared to their pre-Covid operations in the coming years."

The Group expects to operate under 50% of its capacity at the end of financial year 2020/21 versus pre-Covid levels. Industry groups have also forecast that passenger traffic will not return to previous levels until around 2024.

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