SINGAPORE (AP) _ Singapore Airlines laid off 414 workers on Thursday in a move the carrier’s boss said was necessary ``to save the company″ after the SARS outbreak and the war in Iraq triggered a sharp fall in passenger demand.
The flag carrier has been losing 6 million Singapore dollars a day ($3.5 million), the airline said in a statement.
``It is clear that we have to cure this financial hemorrhage. We cannot simply wait, do nothing and just hope that business will recover sooner rather than later. We need to act now to save the company,″ Singapore Airlines’ Chief Executive Chew Choon Seng told staff on Thursday.
The airline said in its statement that it ``will continue to make appropriate adjustments to its cost structure as necessary.″
The layoffs, the first since the flag carrier laid off some 240 full-time staff two decades ago, will also affect subsidiaries SIA Engineering and Singapore Airport Terminal Services. Together, the three companies employ nearly 29,000 people.
Most of the cuts will be at the group’s airport terminal unit, where 196 jobs are being eliminated, the company said in an announcement to the Singapore Stock Exchange.
The carrier has had to cut one-third of its flights as traffic slumped following the SARS outbreak and Iraq war.