The Singapore Airlines Group announced on Thursday that it is laying off 4,300 employees from its three airliners due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Goh Choon Phong, the CEO of the group, said the decision was taken as the recovery process will be long and full of uncertainties.
“It has come to the point where we have to make this painful decision. Having to let go our valuable and dedicated employees is the hardest and most agonizing decision in my 30 years journey with the company,” he said in a statement.
According to the company, the actual number of local and overseas employees affected by the latest job cuts is about 2,400, as 1,900 positions had already been eliminated due to measures such as recruitment freeze, natural attrition, and voluntary departure schemes.
The group’s three airlines — Singapore Airlines Ltd., SilkAir (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. and Scoot Tigerair Pte. Ltd. — employed around 21,300 staff as of March.
A huge 99.5% decline in passenger carriage due to lockdowns and travel restrictions, the airline group has been left operating at 8% of its usual capacity.
The company is expected to operate with less than 50% of its normal capacity by the end of its financial year, March 31, 2021, noting that passenger traffic will not return to previous levels until around 2024.
The Singapore Airlines Group is in an even more vulnerable position as it does not have a domestic market which will be the first to see a recovery.
* Writing by Maria Elisa Hospita from Anadolu Agency’s Indonesian-language service in Jakarta.