SINGAPORE: National carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) on Thursday (May 17) topped market expectations by reporting a 148 per cent rise in full-year net profit to the highest level since 2011, as passenger and cargo revenue rose and it benefited from a transformation programme.
The carrier, a benchmark for Asia's premium airlines, made S$893 million in the year ended March, up from S$360 million a year ago and 28 per cent higher than the S$697 million average forecast from 14 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Group revenue rose 6.3 per cent year-on-year to S$15.8 billion, with revenue improvements in all business segments.
The board has recommended a final dividend of 30 cents per share for the financial year 2017/18.
SIA said that despite its positive results, intense competition remains and cost pressures remain.
"Despite stronger advance passenger bookings for the coming months and a continued stabilisation in yields, intense competition in key operating markets and cost pressures remain," SIA said in a release.
"Fuel prices have been trending higher and volatility is expected to persist in the months ahead," it added.
The airline, like Hong Kong-based rival Cathay Pacific Airways, has undertaken a three-year transformation programme designed to cut costs and boost revenue amid competition from Chinese and Middle Eastern rivals and low-cost carriers.
"The first year of the SIA Group’s three-year transformation programme has shown good progress. The next two years of the programme will further build on initiatives around enhancements to the customer experience, revenue growth and improvements in operational efficiency," it said.
SIA launched 17.5-hour non-stop flights from Singapore to San Francisco last year.
The Singapore carrier plans to resume even longer flights to Los Angeles and New York later this year after a five-year hiatus, helping to close a gap in its US capacity relative to competitors like Cathay Pacific Airways and Emirates.