Singapore Airlines Group has announced it will cut around 4,300 jobs across its airlines.

The Group which has been badly hit by the Covid-19 pandemic believes that after taking into account “a recruitment freeze, natural attrition and the take up of voluntary departure schemes, the potential number of staff impacted will be reduced to about 2,400 in Singapore and in overseas stations”.

Singapore Airlines Group includes Singapore Airlines, Silk Air and Scoot. It says it expects to operate under 50 per cent of its capacity at the end of financial year 2020/21 versus pre-Covid levels. Industry groups have also forecasted that passenger traffic will not return to previous levels until around 2024.

The Group says that “Relative to most major airlines in the world, the SIA Group is in an even more vulnerable position as it does not have a domestic market that will be the first to see a recovery.”

As a result of this vulnerability in addition to the job cuts the Group’s airlines “will operate a smaller fleet for a reduced network compared to their pre-Covid operations in the coming years”.

The job losses are partly mitigated by “…a recruitment freeze implemented in March 2020, open vacancies that were not filled, an early retirement scheme for ground staff and pilots and a voluntary release scheme for cabin crew.”

Singapore Airlines Chief Executive Officer, Goh Choon Phong, said: “Having to let go of our valuable and dedicated people is the hardest and most agonising decision that I have had to make in my 30 years with SIA. 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.”

“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. We will conduct this process in a fair and respectful manner and do our best to ensure that they receive all the necessary support during this very trying time.”

The Group says that “Discussions have begun with our Singapore-based unions. The Group will work closely with them to finalise the arrangements as soon as possible for those affected and try to minimise the stress and anxiety on our people.”