SINGAPORE: The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group suffered a 98.1 per cent year-on-year decline in passenger carriage in October, despite moves to open Singapore's borders to more places.
"Demand for air travel remained tepid as border controls and travel restrictions remained in place in most countries to curb the spread of COVID-19," SIA said on Monday (Nov 16) as it published its October operating results.
Overall passenger carriage was lower by 98.1 per cent, resulting in a passenger load factor - which measures the percentage of available seating capacity that is filled with passengers - of 15.8 per cent.
This marked a decline of 68.6 percentage points year-on-year, said SIA Group.
October's Group passenger capacity was also down by 89.9 per cent year-on-year.
SIA’s capacity was 87.9 per cent lower compared to last year, with a "skeletal network in operation".
In October, the airline added Dhaka and Johannesburg to a list of 30 cities it was serving in September.
SIA's passenger carriage declined 97.8 per cent, resulting in a passenger load factor of 15.6 per cent.
SilkAir's passenger carriage also dropped 99.2 per cent year-on-year against a 98.2 per cent cut in capacity. Its passenger load factor was 33.7 per cent, SIA Group said.
The carrier continued to operate flights to Cebu, Chongqing, Kuala Lumpur, Medan and Phnom Penh, and added Penang to this list.
Budget carrier Scoot's passenger carriage meanwhile declined 99.1 per cent year-on-year against a contraction in capacity of 95.1 per cent, leading to a passenger load factor of 16.1 per cent.
"Scoot now serves 18 destinations, reinstating flights to Manila and Tianjin," SIA Group said, adding that operations to West Asia and Europe remained suspended.
Cargo load factor was 23.7 percentage points higher year-on-year as the capacity contraction of 57.8 per cent year-on-year outpaced the 41.7 per cent decline in cargo traffic (measured in freight tonne-kilometres).
All route regions recorded year-on-year increases in cargo load factor in October, SIA Group said.
Despite the results, SIA Group said there were "positive developments" in October.
This included the announcement of the Singapore-Hong Kong air travel bubble, which is slated to start on Nov 22.
"Singapore also continued to add additional destination cities from which passengers can transfer, through Singapore, to other destinations," SIA Group said.
"These positive developments have continued to support the SIA Group of airlines’ ongoing recovery from COVID-19."