AirAsia is laying off employees during this challenging time as the airline is unable to ensure that it is able to continue operating like before, Bernama recently reported, quoting AirAsia Malaysia CEO Riad Asmat. He said that the organisational restructure was a "viable alternative at present" due to the challenging situation. Bernama added that the layoffs will also include foreign employees.
At the time of writing, AirAsia did not respond to A+M's request for comment on the number of people affected in its marketing team. However, a Google spreadsheet created by Allan Phang, who previously worked under AirAsia esports before EVOS Esports as regional head of marketing and PR, revealed that individuals from the marketing, creative, branding and corporate communications team have been impacted. The list currently has 174 names and 2.9% are from marketing while 2.4% hail from creative. Majority of the individuals listed (83.5%) are from Malaysia while the rest are from Indonesia (9.4%), Philippines (3.5%), and India (1.8%). Majority of the individuals are willing to relocate and are looking for full time jobs.
In a statement to A+M, Phang said he was inspired by the Google Sheets document titled "SEAriously Awesome People List - Start Up Layoffs COVID-19 Layoffs" and the one created by Klook's former community team lead, marketing Audrey Mah.
"When I read the news about AirAsia's retrenchment, I wanted to help my former colleagues. I did this alone and created the document on 5 June at 6am and it went live by 9am," Phang said. He explained that he hopes to assist and provide former colleagues a platform to help them land a job easier amidst the competitive job market. "AirAsia employees, also known as Allstars, are known to be resilient and sought after due to their competitive spirit, always on challenger mode, and start-up working environment," he added.
The recent round of job cuts come after the airline's management and senior employees took a voluntary pay cut earlier this year, ranging from 100% at the very top to 15%. This was in an effort to further manage and contain costs for the airline company. AirAsia said then that the pay cut will help ensure it can ride out this prolonged period of extremely low travel demand. It also aims to help minimise the impact on its employees, especially those in junior positions.
In March, the airline also put in place a range of cost containment measures across all its business operations. The measures placed emphasis on minimising impact on its employees, while ensuring business continuity with a priority on flight operations safety and security. Former acting CEO and president (Airlines) of AirAsia Group, Bo Lingam, said the cost containment measures would have zero or minimal impact on most AirAsia employees especially those in the lower-income bracket.
Separately, multiple media reports including the New Straits Times and The Korea Herald reported that AirAsia is mulling selling 10% of its stake to South Korean telco SK Telecom for about US$78 million.
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