SIA Group reports 60% decline in passenger carriage as demand 'severely impacted' by COVID-19 travel restrictions

SIA Group reports 60% decline in passenger carriage as demand 'severely impacted' by COVID-19 travel restrictions

A Singapore Airlines plane sits on the tarmac at Singapore's Changi Airport
A Singapore Airlines plane sits on the tarmac at Singapore's Changi Airport on Mar 11, 2020. (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Airlines (SIA) group's carriers posted a 60.4 per cent decline in passenger carriage in March as overall travel demand was "severely impacted" by travel restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, according to its operating results published on Wednesday (Apr 15). 

Singapore Airlines' passenger carriage dropped by 57.2 per cent compared to a year before, against a 37.8 per cent cut in capacity. 

SilkAir's passenger carriage dropped by 71.1 per cent against a 58.5 per cent cut in capacity, while Scoot's passenger carriage decreased 68.3 per cent against a contraction in capacity of 61 per cent. 

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SIA Group said that in the fourth quarter of the financial year 2019-2020, it "confronted the greatest challenge in its history due to the global COVID-19 outbreak, which had an unprecedented impact on its business". 

By the end of March, SIA had announced a 96 per cent cut in SIA and SilkAir's combined capacity, while Scoot had suspended 98 per cent of its network, compared to their original schedules to end April 2020. 

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Out of SIA Group's fleet of approximately 200 aircraft, only about 10 were in operation to serve a limited passenger network, and these capacity cuts may need to be extended if border controls and travel restrictions remain in place and travel demand continues to below, it said. 

"Operating this limited schedule will have a severe impact on the group's financial performance," it added.

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SIA Group said the "collapse" in passenger traffic has had a "severe impact" on its revenues. 

"While the capacity cuts and other cost management measures that SIA has implemented have helped to reduce expenditure, many costs are unavoidable regardless of the number of flights mounted. That means these measures will not fully offset the contraction in passenger revenue."

As such, "the global COVID-19 outbreak is expected to have a material impact on the SIA Group’s financial performance" in the January-March quarter of the 2019-2020 financial year, said the company.

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Source: CNA/jt(hs)

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