More than 6,000 Singapore Airlines Group employees, including ground staff, pilots and cabin crew have taken varying days of unpaid leave since they were first offered to do so in March.

Singapore Airlines tells Cirium that the leave starts from a minimum of seven days and that more than 1,700 group staff have signed up for short-term volunteer positions and temporary secondary job placements outside the company.

“This includes ambassador roles and opportunities at public transport stations, social service offices and hospitals, for example. Many of our staff members have also volunteered with various roles within the company,” the airline says.

As of 1 August, all staff below the level of manager have taken a cut of 10% on their basic salary. Managers and above have taken cuts ranging between 12-35%, with the chief executive taking the largest cut of 35%. The board have also taken a 30% cut in their fees “in solidarity with the staff members”, Singapore Airlines says.

The company has also had an organisation-wide recruitment freeze since April and has been managing its headcount “through attrition and retirements without replacements”.

Against the backdrop of a collapse of air travel amid the Covid-19 crisis, the airline has “implemented progressive and decisive capacity cuts” across its network since March, it says.

“As part of our cost-cutting measures, we have worked with suppliers and partners to reduce costs and reschedule payments. We have deferred non-critical expenditure projects and imposed tight controls on expenditure.”

The carrier adds: “As aircraft payments make up a significant portion of our capital expenditure, we have and continue to engage the aircraft manufacturers to negotiate adjustments to our delivery stream for existing orders and progress payments to reduce near term cash outflows.”

Singapore Airlines says it expects passenger capacity for the group to reach less than half of pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of the 2020/2021 fiscal year, and that it is assessing the impact of this “slower projected rate of recovery” on its operations.

“We are reviewing the potential shape and size of our network over the longer term, given Covid-19 and its impact on our passenger traffic and revenue, which will provide clarity on fleet size and mix that the group will need.”