Singapore Airlines has confirmed it will be cutting 4300 positions due to the debilitating impact of the coronavirus pandemic on demand, that's around 20 percent of the airline's staff, and the largest number of job losses in its history.
The airline said after taking into account a recruitment freeze, natural attrition and voluntary departure schemes, the potential number of staff affected would be reduced to around 2400 in Singapore and overseas.
The company reiterated its forecast that it expected to operate less than 50 percent of its normal capacity by the end of its 2021 financial year. It is currently operating at 8 percent.
The airline has no domestic network and is wholly dependent on international demand at a time when many borders remain effectively closed.
In a statement, the airline said, to remain viable in an uncertain landscape it would operate a smaller fleet and reduced network in coming years.
The job losses on Thursday were the first it had announced since the start of the pandemic, which has seen it raise NZ$12 billion of equity and debt to shore up its liquidity.
"The next few weeks will be some of the toughest in the history of the SIA Group as some of our friends and colleagues leave the company," Singapore Airlines Chief Executive Goh Choon Phong said in the statement.
"This is not a reflection of the strengths and capabilities of those who will be affected, but the result of an unprecedented global crisis that has engulfed the airline industry," he said.
The International Air Transport Association has forecast it will take until 2024 for global passenger traffic to return to pre-pandemic levels.
Qantas Airways recently announced plans to cut nearly 30 percent of its pre-pandemic staffing, while Cathay Pacific Airways is reviewing its operations with an announcement expected in the fourth quarter.