Singapore Airlines asks pilots to volunteer for unpaid leave

January 06, 2013 - 1:05:44 am

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines has asked its captains to volunteer for unpaid leave amid a global economic slowdown that has dented long-haul travel demand, the airline said yesterday.

The move came nearly a year after the company — considered a bellwether for the full-service airline industry — made a similar offer to its first officers.

The airline has also frozen its intake of cadet pilots as part of a slew of cost-cutting measures.

“Singapore Airlines (SIA) began offering voluntary no-pay leave to first officers in March last year and subsequently to captains who expressed interest,” company spokesman Nicholas Ionides said in a statement. SIA has “a temporary surplus of pilots and are managing it through this scheme, which is entirely voluntary”, Ionides said.

He added that “the surplus of captains is limited and we regard it as temporary”. The global financial crisis had led to excess capacity and slower growth that anticipated, Ionides said. “This voluntary scheme will enable us to address the short-term surplus, while at the same time provide staff with the opportunity to take leave for personal reasons should they wish to do so,” he said. AFP

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