SIA Group passenger carriage drops 98.6% in July as air travel demand remains 'severely curtailed' amid COVID-19

SIA Group passenger carriage drops 98.6% in July as air travel demand remains 'severely curtailed' amid COVID-19

Singapore Airlines and Silk Air
A SilkAir plane sits beside a Singapore Airlines plane at Changi Airport in Singapore. (File photo: REUTERS/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group continues to feel the impact caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

On Monday (Aug 17), the company released figures which showed three of its carriers continuing to see sharp declines in passenger traffic for July. 

SIA Group said this was down to "severely curtailed" demand for air travel, with border controls and travel restrictions remaining in place due to COVID-19. 

Group passenger carriage fell 98.6 per cent year-on-year in July, while group passenger capacity declined 94.3 per cent for the same period. The SIA Group's passenger load factor was at 21.6 per cent, a decline of 64.2 per cent year-on-year. 

READ: SIA Group passenger carriage plunges 99.3% in June as COVID-19 continues to impact demand

In terms of cargo load factor, all route regions recorded increases in the month of July.

Cargo load factor for the SIA Group was at 84.6 per cent in July, up 26.5 per cent as the capacity contraction of 60.9 per cent year-on-year outpaced the 43.1 per cent decline in cargo traffic.

In July, Singapore Airlines reported a S$1.12 billion net loss in the first quarter after drastically cutting capacity due to travel restrictions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. This was compared to the S$111 million profit in the same period a year ago. 

READ: COVID-19: Singapore Airlines offers cabin crew early release, retirement to further cut costs

For Singapore Airlines, its capacity for the month was 93.1 per cent lower compared to July last year, with a “skeletal network in operation” connecting Singapore to 25 metro cities.

Passenger carriage declined 98.2 per cent for Singapore Airlines, resulting in a passenger load factor of 22.5 per cent. It carried 27,600 passengers last month, compared with the 1,912,000 passengers it flew in July 2019. 

SilkAir, which only operated flights to Chongqing, Kuala Lumpur and Medan in July, saw its passenger carriage decrease by 99.6 per cent year-on-year against a 99.3 per cent cut in capacity. 

Its passenger load factor was 43.3 per cent as it flew 1,700 passengers for the month compared with the 423,000 passengers it flew in July 2019.

READ: Pilots, cabin crew of Singapore carriers returning from overseas to be tested for COVID-19

Low-cost carrier Scoot’s passenger carriage declined 99.6 per cent year-on-year against a contraction in capacity of 97.1 per cent, which led to a passenger load factor of 12.6 per cent, the Group said.

It carried 4,600 passengers on its network last month, compared with the 962,000 passengers it carried in July 2019. 

In July, Scoot increased the number of destinations it served to nine: Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Ipoh, Kuching, Nanjing, Penang, Perth, Surabaya and Taipei. Operations to West Asia and Europe remained suspended.

In May, SIA reported the first annual net loss in its 48-year history of S$212 million for the 12 months ending Mar 31, a reversal from the S$683 million profit in the previous year.

The national carrier also announced the formation of an internal task force to review its operations and to prepare for when air travel recovers. 

READ: Extra stimulus for aerospace, aviation and tourism sectors; Singaporeans to get S$320m worth of local tourism credits

S$187 MILLION SUPPORT FOR AVIATION SECTOR

On Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat identified the aviation industry as among three of the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic and said the Government would pump in additional funding to help these sectors out.

In his statement, Mr Heng explained these sectors need to be supported as they are key drivers of the economy and multipliers for other sectors in Singapore. 

An additional S$187 million will be put into the enhanced aviation support package - announced in March this year - so that it lasts until March 2021. 

Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story reported SIA’s cargo load factor for July as 26.5 per cent. This is incorrect; cargo load factor for the month grew by 26.5 per cent year-on-year. We apologise for the error.

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Source: CNA/aa(rw)

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