Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 18 September 2020

Singapore Airlines Group to axe 4,300 jobs amid coronavirus pandemic

The company will cut positions across Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot

Singapore Airlines Group will cut around 4,300 positions across its airlines . REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo
Singapore Airlines Group will cut around 4,300 positions across its airlines . REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

Singapore Airlines Group will cut about 4,300 positions across its airlines as it looks to adapt to a weak travel outlook amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“This 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,” the company on Thursday said in a statement to Singapore Exchange, where its shares trade.

The company will cut positions across Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and its low-cost carrier Scoot. It said that after taking into account a recruitment freeze, natural attrition and voluntary departure schemes, the number of staff affected will be reduced to about 2,400 in Singapore and overseas.

“When the battle against Covid-19 began early this year, none of us could have predicted its devastating impact on the global aviation industry,” Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong said.

“From the outset, our priorities were to ensure our survival and save as many jobs as possible. Given that the road to recovery will be long and fraught with uncertainty, we have to unfortunately implement involuntary staff reduction measures.”

Global airlines are expected to suffer heavy losses this year as many countries continue to implement strict travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The total losses are expected to be in the range of $100 billion (Dh367bn) this year, according to the International Air Transport Association (Iata).

Singapore Airlines has been hit particularly hard as it does not have a domestic market – often first to recover – to fall back on. According to figures released by the airline, passenger numbers on its three carriers were down 98.6 per cent in July, compared with last year.

The group reported a net loss of S$1.12bn (Dh3bn) in the three months to June compared with a profit of S$111 million a year earlier, as revenue dropped by 79 per cent to S$851m, according to the company’s financial statement.

Singapore Airlines Group said that it is planning to operate a smaller fleet and a reduced network to cope with the crisis. The airline also said it expects to operate only 50 per cent of its capacity at the end of the financial year.

Passenger traffic is not expected to recover to pre-crisis levels before 2024, according to a forecast by Iata. The industry's main trade body has also urged governments to continue offering support to airlines to ensure their survival.

Updated: September 10, 2020 04:15 PM

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