Singapore Airlines has announced plans to lay off 20% of its staff, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic hitting the company profits over the past few months.

The redundancies will also affect Singapore Airlines’ subsidiaries, Silk Air and Scoot.

C: Go Rhy Yan – Unsplash

“Having to let go of our valuable and dedicated people is the hardest and most agonizing decision that I have had to make in my 30 years with SIA,” chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong said.

This is the largest dismissal of staff that Singapore Airlines has ever made.

The only other previous staff cuts of note made by Singapore Airlines were in 2003, which was the time that another worldwide pandemic, SARS, occurred.

Offsetting the numbers a little, Singapore Airlines has already cut 1900 positions by freezing recruitment and through voluntary departure schemes since March.

While most airline companies are trying to fill loss in profits by way of boosting domestic flight routes, Singapore Airline has no domestic network to support them through the financial crisis.

And, since most borders remain closed, Singapore Airlines are having a harder time than most of their competitors.

Singapore Airlines only carried 38,000 passengers in the first quarter of 2020, down 99.6% on the same quarter last year.

Consequently, the airline’s net loss in first quarter has amounted to S$1.12 billion (NT$23.9 billion).

This is the first loss that Singapore Airlines has posted in 48 years and the newest operating data available also indicates a 99.3% fall on carrying capacity in June.

However, Singapore Airlines is still looking for a way out of the malaise.

On September 14th, the airline announced it will withdraw from flight routes to Canberra and Wellington, and the airline earlier this week announced it is looking at offering ‘no-destination’ flights to generate revenue from next month; reported by The Taiwan Times here.

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