SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong Pens Email Explaining Retrenchments

The aviation industry is currently still reeling from the impact of Covid-19, and Singapore Airlines (SIA) is no exception — they announced that they’re letting go of about 2,400 more staff on Monday (14 Sep).

In a heartfelt and transparent letter penned by SIA’s CEO Goh Choon Phong to staff, he expressed his regret at having to let them go.

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He also emphasised that the move was the hardest decision he’s had to make since joining SIA, and promised to give the support the staff need.

2,400 staff retrenched in latest exercise: SIA CEO

In the email shared with MS News by an anonymous SIA employee, Mr Goh said the priority was to save as many jobs as possible and ensure their survival.

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Although they used a variety of measures including salary cuts and no-pay leave, airline capacity is still at 8% compared to pre-Covid-19 times.

The losses may continue to be felt for years, as full recovery is only expected in 2024.

These factors led SIA to the latest exercise — around 2,400 people across SIA, SilkAir, and Scoot will lose their jobs, down from an initial estimated 4,300.

At the same time, they offered the “most generous” early retirement scheme for ground staff and pilots, as well as a voluntary release scheme for cabin crew.

This allowed SIA to remove the other 1,900 positions and reduce impact on other staff.

Letting go of staff was difficult decision

Mr Goh also said in the letter that they’re working with unions in Singapore to provide arrangements for the retrenched staff.

According to Business Times, SIA and pilots unions are still in talks over the arrangements of the retrenchment.

He also emphasised that the exercise is due to factors beyond SIA’s control — namely, the travel paralysis brought about by Covid-19.

Many borders are still shut to Singapore, and there is also a lack of domestic air travel available due to our small size.

Mr Goh called the exercise the most difficult decision he’s had to make, but pledges to support the staff during this time.

Groups offer jobs to retrenched staff

Many firms have stepped up to offer the retrenched staff jobs following the news.

They include restaurants, Etonhouse International Education Group, and Commonwealth Capital — between them, over 2,000 jobs are on offer.

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It’s a testament to the quality control that SIA has, that their staff are so highly coveted by other groups.

It’s also a show of support to members of the community during these tough times.

Wishing retrenched staff best of luck

These are very difficult times for the aviation industry, and no employer wants to let their staff go in these circumstances.

But he has pledged that the retrenched staff will receive a fair severance package, and also gave a generous release scheme to others.

Hopefully, the staff can get back on their feet in the near future and serve with distinction elsewhere, if not at SIA.

We wish everyone the best of luck for the future and that a pride of Singapore regains their wings.

Featured image adapted from Apex.