SIA Group's passenger carriage down 96.6% but 'calibrated expansion' expected in coming months
SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group’s overall passenger carriage for February fell by 96.6 per cent year-on-year, as demand for air travel continued to be “severely dampened” due to COVID-19.
But the group sounded a note of optimism in light of the global vaccination drive, especially in its main markets.
"The growing pace of vaccinations ... supports cautious optimism for a measured recovery in the demand for air travel in the second half of 2021,” the group said as it announced its February operating results on Monday (Mar 15).
Passenger carriage, measured in revenue passenger-kilometres, for SIA was down by 96 per cent year-on-year in February, while SilkAir's passenger carriage fell 97.3 per cent year-on-year.
Budget carrier Scoot saw its passenger carriage fall by 98.8 per cent year-on-year.
In February, SIA continued to operate a similar network as the previous month, connecting Singapore to 40 metro cities.
SilkAir added Phuket to the list of destinations served, and continued to operate flights to Chongqing, Kathmandu, Kuala Lumpur, Male, Medan and Phnom Penh.
The number of destinations served by Scoot in February remained at 17, including Singapore. Operations to South Asia and Europe remained suspended.
All route regions served by the SIA Group continued to record year-on-year increases in cargo load factor in February.
"SIA Cargo registered a record monthly cargo load factor of 94.6 per cent in February as cargo load factor improved by 35.9 percentage points year-on-year. Cargo traffic, measured in freight tonne-kilometres, declined 27.1 per cent on the back of a capacity contraction of 54.8 per cent," said the group.
The SIA Group expects to see “a calibrated expansion of the passenger network” in the coming months, it said. The group expects its passenger capacity to be around 26 per cent of pre-COVID-19 levels by May.
SIA will reinstate scheduled passenger services to Tokyo this month and offer parallel services to Taipei alongside Scoot from April, the group said. SilkAir will re-introduce services to Cebu this month.
“The SIA Group remains nimble and flexible in managing the network, and has the ability to scale up capacity swiftly to match the recovery in demand,” it added.