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SIA To Hire 2,000 Cabin Crew By Mar 2023 As Air Travel Recovers, 800 Positions Already Filled

Singapore Airlines To Hire 2,000 Cabin Crew By Mar 2023

After a two-year hiatus, many are eager to resume travelling as borders gradually reopen.

With demand picking up, Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced that it would be hiring about 2,000 cabin crew, with 800 already employed since March.

Source: Mainly Miles

Previously, the SIA Group — which includes Scoot — cut about 4,300 positions across its airlines.

SIA looking to recruit 2,000 cabin crew members

SIA shared that they are looking to recruit about 2,000 cabin crew members as air travel recovers.

800 cabin crew members have been hired since hiring began earlier this year in March, reported The Straits Times (ST).

Out of these, three in five are former crew members who had previously left the industry, reducing the necessary training time.

SIA chief executive Mr Goh Choon Phong told ST in an interview that the company has been proactive in anticipating the pickup of travel. After all, they want to be ahead of the curve.

SIA said it is looking to complete hiring by next March, the end of its financial year.

Most pilots & cabin crew now fly regularly

In Sep 2020, the SIA Group, which includes budget carrier Scoot, cut about 4,300 positions, or 20% of its staff. This translated to about 2,400 staff leaving the airline.

Pre-pandemic, the group had about 3,200 pilots and almost 11,000 cabin crew.

Mr Goh shared that currently, they have about the same number of pilots and only a “very small number” of the cabin crew.

Most of SIA’s existing pilots, cabin crew, and aircraft are now flying regularly.

Despite that, Mr Goh said none of the flight crew or planes are fully utilised for now as air travel is still en route to recovery.

Nonetheless, SIA is deploying them so that they will be operationally ready.

This way, whenever airlines increase frequencies or new points, the airline can readily tap on these resources.

Passenger carriage has increased six-fold

In a press release on Wednesday (18 May), SIA Group announced that it had cut its full-year net loss by 78%.

Source: Singapore Airlines on Facebook

The press release said passenger carriage for 2021 and 2022 had gone up six times since travel restrictions were relaxed.

The group also reported an operating cash surplus of S$824 million for the entire year, as well as “record full-year cargo revenue” due to “strong demand and robust yields”.

However, Mr Goh shared that there’s no need for crew levels to be restored to pre-pandemic levels yet.

SIA projected that its passenger capacity would hit 61% of pre-pandemic levels for 2022’s first quarter and 67% by the second quarter.

The group expects to serve over 70% of its pre-Covid destinations by the end of the second quarter.

Mr Goh elaborated that some markets may still be closed for the foreseeable future.

This includes China, an important market for the SIA Group.

SIA customer service overwhelmed by inquiries

While there is currently enough manpower to handle upcoming flights, Mr Goh admits that SIA’s customer service centre has been overwhelmed with the spike in inquiries.

This is mainly because many customers have been calling the airline to validate the information. Most of them are concerned about rapid changes in border restrictions and testing requirements.

Since Apr 2022, the number of staff operating SIA’s call centre had already slightly exceeded pre-pandemic numbers.

However, they continue to struggle as call volumes spiked to 160% of Covid-19 levels on some days. This came after Singapore announced that they would open up to all vaccinated travellers from April.

The SIA Group is now working to resolve its customer service issues. The situation at the call centre is also now normalising.

Mr Goh said that the airline had been planning and putting in place capacity ahead of demand, just like its other sectors.

But in this case, the surge was so high that SIA could not completely match it. He apologised to customers who were affected by such issues.

Heartening to see SIA recovering

After a tumultuous two years, it’s heartening to hear that our national carrier airline is recovering well.

During this transition period, there are perhaps inevitable hiccups along the way, so we should try to be patient as the airline ups its manpower and makes adjustments to its operations.

Hopefully, as the SIA Group returns to full strength, it will be able to give customers the same stellar service they have always been known for.

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Featured image adapted from Mainly Miles.

Sabrina Seng

Sabrina is always facing some form of existential crisis but other than that, she's pretty chill.

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