SINGAPORE: Singapore-based budget airline Jetstar Asia will cut up to 180 jobs - about 26 per cent of its workforce - and extend the furlough of the majority of its staff until December as part of its COVID-19 recovery plan.
Jetstar Asia chief executive officer Bara Pasupathi said on Thursday (Jun 25) that the COVID-19 outbreak has “delivered the single biggest shock” to the aviation industry and the airline had to make “incredibly difficult decisions”.
This comes as parent company Qantas Group announced it would axe at least 20 per cent of its entire workforce and ground 100 planes for at least a year as part of a US$10 billion cost-cutting exercise. Half of the Australian group’s 29,000 employees will remain on leave for months as part of the exercise.
Jetstar services were suspended on Mar 23, after the COVID-19 pandemic forced countries to restrict borders and international travel.
Limited services to Manila and Kuala Lumpur to repatriate citizens and permanent residents or for those with prior written approval for travel resumed from Apr 21. Cargo flights were also resumed for Bangkok.
On Thursday, Jetstar Asia said the job cuts will come from across all parts of the business. It will also remove five Airbus A320 aircraft from its fleet, reducing it to 13 aircraft.
In response to CNA's queries about the number of job cuts in Singapore, a Jetstar Asia spokesperson said the majority of its workforce are Singaporeans and it has yet to complete the redundancy process.
"We are not in a position to disclose this information however are committed to supporting all our team members during this transition," the spokesperson added.
Mr Pasupathi warned that the travel market will be "very different" in the future.
He said the job cuts, staff furlough and removal of five aircraft were "extremely difficult" decisions but will help ensure that the company is ready to recover when international travel demand resumes.
“Singapore and Changi Airport remain a strategic footprint for Jetstar Asia and the Qantas Group and we look forward to growing passenger numbers further through innovation and enhancing the customer experience in the future,” he added.
Mr Pasupathi thanked the Singapore Government for acting “swiftly and decisively” to support the aviation industry.
“The significant budget initiatives, including the enhanced Jobs Support Scheme for the aviation sector and support for our current flying, as well as support with secondary employment opportunities for our incredible workforce, have enabled us to mitigate the situation that could otherwise have been even more confronting,” he said.