The regional wing of Singapore Airlines (SIA), SilkAir will progressively shuts down its offices in 18 regional cities and join its parent company. About 100 staff members in Indonesia, India, China, Thailand, Malaysia, Laos and Myanmar are expected to be retrenched over the next 20 months as the result of this merger.
The switch is part of a merger plan that will see SilkAir folded into SIA. Their positions will become redundant when SilkAir transfers existing services to these markets to Scoot, the budget arm of SIA. According to an SIA spokesman, SilkAir is planning to work with affected workers for placement opportunities in other SIA stations. It is also coordinating with Scoot and other industry partners to help find alternative work for those affected by the move.
“We will also be engaging the services of employment agencies on placement assistance, and offering compensation packages where applicable,” he added.
Regarding whether there will be more route changes and transfers within the organisation, the spokesman said, “Such reviews will continue to be carried out regularly, and should decisions be taken for additional transfers, they will be announced accordingly.”
Earlier in May, SIA had stated that a significant investment programme would be undertaken to upgrade SilkAir’s cabin products ahead of its eventual merger with SIA. This is to ensure closer product and service consistency across the SIA Group’s full-service network, The New Paper reports.
Commenting on the news, human resource experts said that SIA and SilkAir will need to sort out how staff remuneration will be affected before carrying out the merger.
The SIA spokesman said, “These aspects of the integration are currently under review to ensure a smooth transition for staff and our operations.”
On how the integration will affect SilkAir pilots, a spokesman for the Air Line Pilots Association – Singapore said, “We are in advanced discussions internally and with the company to pave the way for a smooth integration between SIA and SilkAir pilots.
“The two airlines have different remuneration packages, so the aim is to put everyone on an even keel and seamlessly sew in a universally acceptable seniority list. In the end, no pilot must be worse off. That is the challenge before us.”
SilkAir has some 600 cabin crew members and they will also move to SIA, said Mr Alan Tan, president of the Singapore Airlines Staff Union – SIA’s biggest union, which represents cabin crew.
He said, “There is a different service culture at SIA compared with SilkAir and our in-flight service is also more elaborate.”