Singapore Airlines Ltd has said that it will cut 4,300 positions, or approximately 20% of its staff, due to the debilitating impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on demand for its services.
The airline said that, after taking into account a recruitment freeze, natural attrition and voluntary departure schemes, the potential number of staff affected will be reduced to approximately 2,400 in Singapore and overseas.
The company reiterated its forecast that it expects to operate less than 50% of its normal capacity by its financial year end of March 31, 2021. It is currently at 8%.
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The airline has no domestic network and is wholly dependent on international demand at a time when many borders remain effectively closed.
It said that to remain viable in an uncertain landscape it will operate a smaller fleet and reduced network in coming years, having already announced a review of its Airbus SE A380 planes for a possible S$1 billion in impairments.
The job losses are the first that it has announced since the start of the pandemic, which has seen it raise S$11 billion of equity and debt to shore up its liquidity.
"An Unprecedented Global Crisis"
"The next few weeks will be some of the toughest in the history of the SIA Group as some of our friends and colleagues leave the company," Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong said in a statement.
"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 said.
State investor Temasek Holdings and others put together a $13.3 billion rescue package for Singapore Airlines in March, including a bridging loan it has repaid and S$9.7 billion of convertible notes it has yet to use.
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