Coronavirus: SIA cuts pay for senior staff, with CEO Goh Choon Phong leading the way with a 15% cut

Singapore Airlines chief executive Goh Choon Phong said in a note to staff that his management team will take the lead with a salary cut effective March 1, 2020. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore Airlines (SIA) is cutting pay for management staff, with chief executive Goh Choon Phong leading the way with a 15 per cent salary cut, The Straits Times has found out.

As the global coronavirus outbreak continues to hit demand for air travel, Mr Goh said in a note to staff on Friday (Feb 28) afternoon: "My management team will take the lead with a salary cut effective 1 March 2020. I will take a 15 per cent cut in my salary, the executive vice-presidents will take a 12 per cent cut, and the senior vice-presidents 10 per cent."

Divisional vice-presidents and vice-presidents will take a 7 per cent cut effective April 1, while senior managers and managers will see their salaries cut by 5 per cent from May 1.

"The SIA board of directors have also decided to take a 15 per cent cut in their fees effective 1 March 2020 to show solidarity with the management and all staff," the note said.

A voluntary no-pay leave scheme will be offered to staff.

Mr Goh said: "Those who opt for this can be assured that the jobs will be there upon their return."

SIA is also engaging its staff unions to discuss additional measures.

The pay cuts and voluntary no-pay leave are part of broader cost-cutting measures, including deferring some capital expenditure, that the airline is rolling out to deal with a business downturn that has hit the global aviation industry.

The SIA group - made up of the premium parent airline, SilkAir and budget carrier Scoot - has temporarily suspended more than 3,000 return flights from this month to end-May following the outbreak, in order to mitigate the impact of the significant drop in demand.

This accounts for 9.9 per cent of the group's scheduled flights until end-May.

Mr Goh said in his note on Friday: "We will continue to be proactive in implementing measures to meet the evolving challenges. Tough decisions will be needed along the way. Management will take the lead, and all of us must be prepared to make sacrifices. Our priority is to save jobs," Mr Goh stressed.

He said: "Earlier this week, I shared with everyone the significant impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the SIA Group and the need to be nimble and flexible in addressing the rapid decline in air travel.

"Since my note, Covid-19 has spread faster outside China, with a large number of cases reported in South Korea, Iran and Italy. There are growing concerns across other parts of the world, including our major markets in Europe and the United States. Changi Airport recently reported that passenger movements fell by over 25 per cent during the first two weeks of February, while traffic between Singapore and China dropped by more than 85 per cent year on year."

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