Singapore Airlines sees ‘moderation’ in pax demand; Airline will expand VTL services

APAS Aircraft Storage Alice Springs
Airlines like Singapore Airlines are bringing planes out of storage as traffic improves with the removal of some COVID restrictions. (PHOTO: Steve Strike/Outback Photographics) Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group saw a slight moderation in passenger demand in January 2022, compared to the year-end travel demand in December 2021. The Singapore government suspended new ticket sales for Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) flights between 22 December 2021 and 20 January 2022 due to the emergence of the Omicron variant. Ticket sales have continued on VTL services for travel from 21 January 2022 onwards, but they remain subject to a 50 percent reduction in arrival quotas. 

Group passenger capacity (measured in available seat-kilometres) grew 2.8 percent month-on-month, reaching 46 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels. Passenger traffic (revenue-passenger kilometres) declined by 11.7 percent compared to the previous month. Consequently, group passenger load factor for January 2022 declined 6.5 percentage points to 40 percent (+28.7 percentage points year-on-year). 

Cargo operations registered a cargo load factor (CLF) of 76 percent in January 2022, or 13.2 percentage points lower year-on-year. The 33.9 percent growth in loads (freight tonne-kilometres) trailed behind the capacity (capacity tonne-kilometre) expansion of 57.3 percent. All route regions recorded lower CLF during the month. 

At the end of January 2022, the group’s passenger network covered 86 destinations including Singapore. This was an increase of one from end-December 2021, with the resumption of Scoot’s operations to Amritsar. The Singapore Airlines full-service network served 63 destinations. Scoot, SIA’s low-cost carrier subsidiary, served 36 destinations as at end of January.

VTL Expansion
The group also announced it will expand its VTL network to 47 cities from 25 countries in the coming weeks.Singapore Airlines will progressively add Dubai, Hong Kong, Manila, New York (Newark), and Phuket from 25 February 2022. In tandem, SIA will step up its frequencies for flights between Singapore and several existing VTL destinations. These are Bandar Seri Begawan, Colombo, Male, and Phnom Penh. Scoot -cost subsidiary, will progressively include Chiang Mai, Cebu, Clark, Davao, Hong Kong, Jeddah, Krabi, London (Gatwick) and Phuket to its VTL network. Scoot will also increase its frequency for services between Singapore and Phuket.

Singapore’s VTL arrangements have helped to successfully unlock the pent-up demand for international air travel to and through Changi Airport. SIA has built up its VTL network in a calibrated manner over the last few months. By adding new VTL services and increasing the frequencies on several existing routes, the SIA group can provide more travel options and greater flexibility for customers.

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