Take unpaid leave, SIA asks cabin crew

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) asked its more than 6,600 cabin crew yesterday to take seven days of unpaid leave every two months until March 2004 as part of cost-cutting moves to cope with the SARS crisis. 

SIA, one of the world's most profitable airlines before Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) shook the regional aviation industry, announced the move after consultations with union leaders. The unpaid leave takes effect from today. 

SIA has cut its capacity by almost 20% and its regional subsidiary SilkAir, which has made deeper reductions in capacity, said on Tuesday it had retrenched eight pilots. 

SIA senior vice-president Sim Kay Wee said the amount of unpaid leave will be reviewed and may have to be increased in line with further capacity cuts, but any changes would have to be discussed with union leaders. – AFP  

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