SINGAPORE - It seems Singapore Airlines (SIA) pilots are in demand.
The Straits Times (ST) reported on Tuesday that the rival airlines such as EVA Air and Qatar Airways have approached the national carrier about recruiting its pilots after they were given the option to go take no-pay leave.
According to the report, the Taiwanese carrier will meet potential recruits tomorrow. The airline did not confirm this but a spokesperson said: "For fleet expansion, we welcome pilots from many airlines to join us, not just Singapore Airlines."
A spokesman for SIA said it will allow pilots on unpaid leave to be employed outside the company on a "case by case basis".
In March, the local carrier gave over 1,000 senior first officers, first officers, second officers and cadet pilots the option of taking up to two years off with no salary, reported AFP. The option was not offered to captains.
When the announcement was made, SIA's spokesperson said the company had no plans to make the scheme compulsory and sees it only as a temporary situation.
The AFP report cited that the aviation industry as a whole is hit by weak demand and soaring fuel prices.
SIA in particular, whose primary customers are business travellers, has been badly hit by a slowdown in corporate travel as it reported a 53 per cent slump in third-quarter net profits in 2011.
Pilots were initially given until March 31 to decide. But apparently, the deadline has since been extended to an undisclosed date.
The SIA spokesperson would not say how many staff have so far applied for unpaid leave, but ST reported that many will likely accept the offer.[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.]