Half of SIA pilot, cabin crew trainees allowed to complete training but must leave after due to surplus manpower

But they must leave after training due to surplus manpower; future hiring possible

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has let go about half of its cadet pilots and cabin crew trainees as it continues to downsize its workforce.

The rest will have to leave after their training is completed.

The Straits Times understands that there are more than 400 staff at various stages of training.

Those who had to abort their training are mainly foreigners.

A spokesman for the airline said of the decision to allow the rest to continue: "SIA is committed to supporting them through their training programme."

It takes over two years and costs about $250,000 to train one pilot.

The programme for cabin crew lasts less than three months.

However, the airline will not be able to keep them after that due to the "current surplus staff numbers", said the spokesman.

The SIA Group has more than 11,000 cabin crew members and about 3,200 pilots.

Retained cadet pilots who need to complete the overseas segment of their training will be put on no-pay leave until SIA is able to safely resume this segment of the training programme, the spokesman said.

"Cadet pilots will be released after they have completed their basic training programme, which includes the overseas segment, due to the current surplus staff numbers."

SIA will be open to hiring them should there be a demand for cabin crew or junior pilots when the demand for air travel returns to pre-Covid-19 levels, the airline added.

 
 

In its latest and most drastic measure to deal with operations battered by the Covid-19 pandemic, the SIA Group said last week it would cut around 4,300 positions.

This includes letting go about 2,400 staff.

Retrenched workers started receiving their pink slips on Monday.

They will continue to receive their salaries until Dec 15, and will also retain their medical and other benefits until then.

In addition, each affected employee will be paid in lieu of the notice period in their employment contract. This can be up to three months' salary.

Those who have been in service for two years or more will receive one month of pay for every year of service, capped at 25 months.

The retrenchment exercise is being conducted at the SIA Training Centre near Changi Airport for Singapore-based staff.

 
 

A severe downturn in the aviation industry has forced some airlines out of business, while others have had to cut costs drastically.

The International Air Transport Association (Iata) has warned that air passenger numbers are unlikely to return to pre-Covid-19 levels till 2024.

Global passenger numbers this year are expected to decline by 55 per cent compared with last year, worse than the 46 per cent forecast in April, Iata has said.

SIA reported a $1.12 billion net loss in the quarter ended June 30, its largest quarterly loss on record, as demand plummeted amid Covid-19 travel restrictions.

Group revenue plunged 79.3 per cent to $851 million year on year, while expenditure dropped 51.6 per cent to $1.89 billion.