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Singapore Airlines may consider cutting staff numbers, CEO Goh Choon Phong told reporters at the International Air Transport Association meeting in Cancun, Mexico, this week.
The revelation comes after a surprising Q4 net loss of SGD138 million (USD100 million) which saw operating profits for the 2016-17 financial year down 8.5% to SGD623 million (USD451 million).
During the presentation of its Q4 results earlier this year, Goh said that the airline has set up a dedicated Transformation Office in order to conduct a “comprehensive review of whatever we are doing and to actually leave no stones unturned, in how we can better position ourselves for growth.” At that time, Goh had been coy about revealing what sorts of changes could be expected to come out of the Transformation Office. He did say that staff had already submitted almost 500 ideas over the “the last few months”, suggesting the review process had commenced before the revelation of the Q4 loss.
“We’re going in with a clean slate, and whatever the best outcome is that best supports the growth of the Group for the future and get the right foundation, we will do it. Even if it means we have to incur costs in the beginning,” Goh said at the time. Later, he added: “There will certainly be changes in the way we do things, and staff would have to pick up new skills and the company would certainly want to look at how best to support their retraining and redeployment.”
The CEO reiterated this same point again this week. According to Bloomberg, Goh said that some staff roles may become irrelevant, while others will be retrained for new or different roles. He added that it was too early to talk about the numbers involved.
The Singapore Airlines Group currently employs around 24,000 people worldwide.