Singapore Airlines to reduce flight capacity by 50%, expects further cuts to capacity

Singapore Airlines to reduce flight capacity by 50%, expects further cuts to capacity

FILE PHOTO: Singapore Airlines planes are pictured on the tarmac at Changi Airport, Singapore
Singapore Airlines planes are pictured on the tarmac at Changi Airport, Singapore on Mar 28, 2018. (Photo: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) is cutting flights across its network as more countries impose border restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Singapore Airlines is suspending additional services across its network amid an unprecedented time in the airline industry,” it said in a news release on Tuesday (Mar 17).

With the suspensions, SIA will operate only 50 per cent of its scheduled capacity up to the end of April.

READ: Jetstar Asia suspends services for three weeks amid COVID-19 travel curbs

“Given the growing scale of the border controls globally and its deepening impact on air travel, SIA expects to make further cuts to its capacity,” the airline said.

The company is “actively taking steps” to build up its liquidity and will be consulting unions as it takes further cost-cutting steps, it added.

READ: Changi Airport's passenger traffic fell 32.8% in February amid COVID-19 outbreak

CEO Goh Choon Phong said it will not be viable for SIA to maintain its current network as it “lost a large amount of (their) traffic in a very short time”.

“Make no mistake – we expect the pace of this deterioration to accelerate. The SIA Group must be prepared for a prolonged period of difficulty,” he added.

Details of the suspended flights will be announced on Wednesday. Tickets for affected flights will be converted to an open ticket that only needs to be completed by Mar 31, 2021, SIA said.

Customers can provide their details on a form on the Singapore Airlines website when they have confirmed their new travel plans, after which they will be contacted by customer service agents.

READ: Singapore Airlines waives rebooking fees for tickets issued on or before Mar 15

The carrier announced over the weekend that it will waive rebooking fees for tickets issued on or before Mar 15. 

This comes hours after Singapore expanded its travel restrictions to include travellers who have visited ASEAN countries, UK, Japan and Switzerland. 

The restriction, which took effect on Mar 16, applies to all travellers except for Singaporeans and Malaysians using sea and land crossings with Malaysia. Travellers who have visited these countries will be issued with a 14-day stay-home notice.

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Source: CNA/ga(hm)

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