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    Jul 07, 2016

    SIA sweetens duty perks in hiring drive

    SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) cabin crew who stay for more than two years will get a higher flying allowance, as part of a major revamp of duty perks.

    The slew of changes, which should translate into a 2-4 per cent increase in take-home pay, come as the airline ramps up recruitment to support expansion plans, after a prolonged slowdown.

    SIA now has about 8,000 cabin crew. It is looking to hire 800 to 1,000 cabin crew a year over the next few years.

    With the changes that took effect in March, junior crew will see their flying allowance increase from $9.50 an hour to $12.80 after logging two years of service, The Straits Times found out.

    Previously, the allowance was increased only when they got promoted - usually after six years.

    For senior crew - stewardesses in green, red and blue kebayas and stewards in matching ties - the allowance has been increased by about $4 per hour.

    With the higher payout, cabin crew are no longer given separate allowances for in-flight meals and overnight stops.

    However, those who do turnaround flights will be paid $90 for each flight, instead of $70 before.

    The airline's spokesman Nicholas Ionides, who confirmed the changes, said the new package is fairer as it is pegged to actual number of hours flown.

    Before, cabin crew on longer flights with overnight stops made more than those who did mainly regional flights.

    He said: "New entrant cabin crew can look forward to a higher salary package after two years, as there will be a step-up flying allowance. They can also look forward to promotional opportunities with higher tier salary packages."

    On whether the airline faces challenges attracting and retaining staff, he added: "The allure of flying and our strong brand continue to attract candidates for the job."

    Efforts to reduce attrition include continuous engagement with cabin crew through a variety of channels, including management interaction sessions, investment in training and development, and motivational programmes, Mr Ionides said.

    Cabin crew typically stay for about two years, The Straits Times understands.

    Singapore Airlines Staff Union president Alan Tan said the recent changes, combined with earlier initiatives, should encourage more crew to stay longer.

    Earlier this year, SIA reached an agreement with the union to extend flying years, based on merit.

    The maximum extension is three years for all ranks of cabin crew.

    Before the change, junior stewardesses in blue kebayas, for example, could do a maximum of only four five-year terms or 20 years in all.