COVID-19: More than 6,000 SIA Group staff members have taken no-pay leave since scheme introduced in March

COVID-19: More than 6,000 SIA Group staff members have taken no-pay leave since scheme introduced in March

Singapore Airlines suffered a net loss of more than US$800 million in the first quarter of 2020 as
Singapore Airlines suffered a net loss of more than US$800 million in the first quarter of 2020 as coronavirus hammered air travel AFP/Roslan RAHMAN

SINGAPORE: More than 6,000 Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group staff members have taken up varying days of no-pay leave amid the collapse in air travel due to COVID-19.

This accounts for more than a fifth of the 27,000 staff members under SIA Group, which includes SIA, regional wing SilkAir and budget carrier Scoot.

Ground staff members, pilots and cabin crew have taken up varying lengths of no-pay leave - starting from a minimum of seven days - since it was first offered in March this year, an SIA spokesperson said on Monday (Aug 10) in response to CNA’s queries.

While on no-pay leave, some staff members are allowed to work other jobs.

“SIA Group staff who are on furlough or voluntary no-pay leave are allowed to source for their own temporary employment outside of the company, provided they are non-work pass holders,” the spokesperson said.

READ: Singapore Airlines to cut salaries by at least 10%, offers early retirement for eligible staff

In addition, more than 1,700 SIA Group staff members have signed up for short-term volunteer positions and temporary secondary job placements outside the company, including ambassador roles and positions at public transport stations, social service offices and hospitals.

“The SIA ambassador programmes and employee support portal remain the main source of support measures for SIA and SilkAir crew looking for secondary employment," said the  spokesperson.

READ: COVID-19: Singapore Airlines to provide 300 'care ambassadors' to fill manpower gap at hospitals

CAPACITY CUTS FOLLOW “COLLAPSE IN AIR TRAVEL”

SIA said it had implemented capacity cuts across its network since March “against the backdrop of a collapse in air travel”.

The Group has worked with partners to reduce costs and reschedule payments, including aircraft payments which make up a "significant portion" of capital expenditure. 

"We have and continue to engage the aircraft manufacturers to negotiate adjustments to our delivery stream for existing orders and progress payments to reduce near term cash outflows," said the spokesperson.

READ: Singapore Airlines reports S$1.12 billion net loss in Q1 as COVID-19 hits demand

Last month, SIA announced further pay cuts for management staff and a salary reduction of 10 per cent for other employees.

The announcement came as SIA posted a S$1.12 billion net loss in the first quarter, after drastically cutting capacity due to travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Today, all staff below the level of manager have taken a cut of 10 per cent on their basic salary,” the SIA spokesperson said on Monday. “Managers and above have taken cuts ranging between 12 and 35 per cent, with the chief executive officer taking the largest cut of 35 per cent."

The SIA Board has also taken a 30 per cent cut in their fees "in solidarity with the staff members".

By the end of this financial year, SIA expects that its group passenger capacity may reach less than half of pre-COVID-19 levels.

“We are assessing the impact of our slower projected rate of recovery on our operations," said the spokesperson in Monday's statement. 

“We are reviewing the potential shape and size of our network over the longer term, given COVID-19 and its impact on our passenger traffic and revenue, which will provide clarity on fleet size and mix that the Group will need."

“We continue to actively pursue cost management measures and options to preserve cash," added the spokesperson.

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Source: CNA/aa(nc)

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