Singapore Airlines is offering cabin crew generous early release and retirement options as it becomes increasingly apparent that any recovery for air travel demand is still a long way off. Until now, Singapore Airlines has arranged for its cabin crew to be redeployed into a number of voluntary roles to help out in the city state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and in the hope that cabin crew could quickly return to work once the crisis passed.
Cabin crew from both Singapore Airlines and its regional subsidiary Silk Air have until August 31 to apply for what could be a one-time-only offer before compulsory redundancies are made. The early release scheme will allow probationary cabin crew the opportunity to leave the airline without outstanding debts and a small payoff.
For cabin crew still paying off bonds, those will be repaid by the airline while settling-in loans for foreign crew will be waived. Pay-outs will range from one month’s salary for probationary cabin crew, to three months salary for confirmed crew.
A spokesperson for the airline said the scheme was being introduced because of the “slower projected trajectory recovery for international air travel”. Many airlines now believe it will take until at least 2024 at the earliest for air travel to recover to pre-COVID levels.
Singapore Airlines said the early departure programme had been negotiated with the Singapore Airlines Staff Union. Other steps already taken by the airline to reduce payroll costs included cutting pay for most staff by at least 10 per cent.
Around 6,000 of SIA’s 27,000 strong workforce have also taken some form of unpaid leave.
The airline recently announced a record S$1.12 billion loss for the first six months of 2020. By the end of the year, Singapore Airlines anticipates to be offering less than half of the capacity it had been operating before the pandemic.
Mateusz Maszczynski honed his skills as an international flight attendant at the most prominent airline in the Middle East and has been flying throughout the COVID-19 pandemic for a well-known European airline. Matt is passionate about the aviation industry and has become an expert in passenger experience and human-centric stories. Always keeping an ear close to the ground, Matt's industry insights, analysis and news coverage is frequently relied upon by some of the biggest names in journalism.