SIA traffic ‘severely curtailed’ due to COVID-19

Airlines like Singapore Air have had to ground thousands of planes. (PHOTO: Steve Strike/Outback Photographics)

Use this oneSingapore Airlines (SIA) announced Tuesday (15 September) that its traffic remained “severely curtailed” in August due to quarantines and border closures as countries continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed almost 1 million people around the world. The airline said it was still suffering despite the opening up of additional destinations by the Singapore government of areas from which passengers can transfer through Singapore to other points in the SIA group network. The government also announced that it would ease the entry restrictions and waive the quarantine requirements for passengers from Brunei and New Zealand who test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival in Singapore.

SIA group passenger capacity (measured in available seat kilometres) was down by 92.2 percent year-on-year. Overall passenger carriage (measured in revenue passenger-kilometres) was lower by 98.3 percent, resulting in a group passenger load factor (“PLF”) of 18.8 percent, a decline of 67.7 percentage points year-on-year.

SIA’s capacity was 90.5 percent lower compared to last year’s, with only a skeletal network in operation connecting Singapore to 28 metro cities, up from 25 in July with the addition of Istanbul, Milan and Perth. Passenger carriage declined 97.9 percent, resulting in a PLF of 19.0 percent.

A little more than six months ago Changi Airport in Singapore was full of passengers. Now a lone student waits to say goodbye to a friend in a nearly deserted departure hall. (PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

SilkAir’s passenger carriage decreased by 99.3 percent year-on-year against a 98.4 percent cut in capacity. PLF was 33.8 percent. SilkAir added Cebu to the destinations it serves, and continued to operate flights to Chongqing, Kuala Lumpur and Medan, in August 2020.

Scoot’s passenger carriage declined 99.3 percent year-on-year against a contraction in capacity of 96.1 percent, which led to a PLF of 15.8 percent. In August 2020, Scoot increased the number of destinations served to 13, adding Clark, Kuala Lumpur, Seoul and Tianjin to the existing network. Operations to West Asia and Europe remained suspended.

The COVID-19 pandemic has virtually shut down international aviation. Normally bustling Changi Airport in Singapore was quiet on 12 August. (PHOTO: Matt Driskill)

Cargo load factor (CLF) was 24.7 percentage points higher year-on-year as the capacity contraction of 58.8 percent year-on-year outpaced the 40.9 percent decline in cargo traffic (measured in freight tonne-kilometres). All route regions recorded year-on-year increases in CLF in August 2020.

Singapore Airlines will suspend services to Canberra, Dusseldorf, Stockholm and Wellington as part of a review of its network due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These stations will be closed as a result of this decision, the airline said.

The SIA group said it continues to review its fleet and network plans as it prepares for a very different aviation landscape due to COVID-19. The group will continue to closely monitor demand patterns in international air travel, and be flexible and nimble in deploying capacity in response.

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