Pratt & Whitney, which in recent days refuted rumours that it had axed workers in Singapore, has cut a portion of its workforce in the city-state. 

The engine-maker, which has been affected by the pandemic-induced economic downturn, says it made the “difficult but necessary decision” to cut “less than 20%” of its local workforce after other cost cutting measures —like salary reductions, hiring freezes and spending cuts — were implemented. The company says it will ”continue to maintain more than 2,000 employees following this workforce adjustment in Singapore”. 

Responding to FlightGlobal’s queries, the company would only say that the retrenchment exercise “affects most of the [P&W] facilities in Singapore”, including its joint ventures, but declined to specify.

The engine-maker has at least four Singapore-based joint ventures, including three with Singapore Airlines Engineering and another with ST Engineering’s aerospace unit. 

P&W also has a component solutions unit and a blade and turbine disc manufacturing facility in Singapore. 

“Less than 20% of our total workforce will be affected by this exercise, including the recent workforce adjustment at Eagle Services Asia,” P&W states. 

ESA, which is a P&W joint venture with Singapore Airlines Engineering, was recently the epicentre of retrenchment rumours, with local media reports stating that around 140 staff members were given the chop. 

P&W on 29 July refuted the rumours, saying that negotiation with unions were still ongoing, and that no employee had been confirmed as retrenched yet. 

ESA was also singled by the unions for not following due processes in the retrenchment exercise. 

In its latest statement, P&W says retrenchment was taken “as a last resort”, having worked with the Singapore Industrial and Services Employees’ Union and the National Trades Union Congress of Singapore on “other cost-saving measures to save jobs”. 

“Pratt & Whitney remains committed to Singapore and the aviation industry in the region, along with our employees in Singapore which is one of the main reasons for our success in this region,” the company says. 

The company told FlightGlobal previously that it will remain committed to its Singapore operations. It stressed that there will be no changes to the PW1000G-series geared turbofan overhaul capability in Singapore. 

ESA is one of the three PW1000G-series engine MRO centres in the Asia-Pacific. 

In February, the facility underwent a $85 million refurbishment, which saw the addition of PW1000G-series engines into its range of capabilities, which also include the PW4000 family and the Engine Alliance GP7200.

P&W’s axing of some of its Singapore workforce comes as the engine-maker recorded a 32% year-on-year decline in global sales, to $3.5 billion, in the quarter ended 30 June/ 

The decline reflected a 42% drop in sales of new products like P&W’s line of PW1000G geared turbofans. P&W’s commercial aftermarket sales sank 51% year-on-year.