SIA Group passenger carriage dropped 99.6% in May as COVID-19 continued to severely impact demand

SIA Group passenger carriage dropped 99.6% in May as COVID-19 continued to severely impact demand

A Singapore Airlines stewardess at Changi Airport in Singapore
A Singapore Airlines stewardess returns from a flight at Changi Airport in Singapore on Jun 8, 2020. (Photo: AFP/Roslan Rahman)

SINGAPORE: The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group recorded a 99.6 per cent year-on-year decline in passenger carriage in May as travel demand continued to be severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its operating results published on Monday (Jun 15). 

As border controls and travel restrictions remained in place around the world, overall passenger capacity was also cut by 96.2 per cent and the passenger load factor fell to 8.6 per cent, said the group. 

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SIA's capacity was 95.6 per cent lower compared to last year's, with only a "skeletal network" of flights in operation, connecting Singapore to 14 metro cities. 

"The number of destinations, as well as the frequencies on some existing services, will be increased in June and July 2020, arising from the resumption of transfers via Changi," said SIA.

The passenger carriage of SIA's regional arm SilkAir decreased by 99.8 per cent against a 99.6% cut in capacity in May. During the month, SilkAir only operated flights between Singapore and Chongqing.

Budget carrier Scoot’s passenger carriage declined 99.9 per cent against a 97.5 per cent fall in capacity. During the month, Scoot temporarily ceased operations to Southeast Asia, West Asia and Europe, while maintaining flights to Hong Kong and Perth.

Cargo load factor was 14.4 percentage points higher - with improvements recorded in all regions - as the capacity contraction of 61.9 per cent outpaced the 52.8 per cent decline in cargo traffic.

"Capacity contraction would have been much greater, save for the deployment of passenger aircraft on cargo-only flights," said SIA.

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Last week, the company announced that SIA and SilkAir passengers flying from selected cities in Australia and New Zealand would be allowed to transit through Changi Airport. 

The cities in Australia include Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth (via Scoot) and Sydney, while the New Zealand cities are Auckland and Christchurch. 

Following the announcement, the Changi Airport Group said passengers flying through Changi Airport would be directed to new transit holding areas in Terminals 1 and 3, to provide a "safe environment for all passengers and airport workers". 

In May, SIA reported the first annual net loss in its 48-year history after COVID-19 crippled travel demand.

In a filing to the Singapore Exchange, SIA Group reported a net loss 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. 

Earlier this month, SIA announced it had secured about US$1 billion in credit facilities, in addition to the S$8.8 billion it recently raised from a rights issue, to help it weather the pandemic.

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Source: CNA/jt

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