Singapore Air posts RM3.5b loss as traffic plunges 99.5%

Andrew Cummings
August 1, 2020

Passenger traffic was reduced to nearly zero in the three months to June, SIA said, leading to the Asian carrier's biggest-ever quarterly net loss of Sg$1.12 billion ($816.58 million). Revenue plunged 79.3% to S$851 million during the quarter, the airline said on Wednesday.

Overall, the Singapore Airlines Group saw a revenue decline of 3.251 billion Singapore dollars in the first quarter. Net fuel cost fell S$1 billion (-86.8 percent), as capacity cuts and lower fuel prices led to a reduction in fuel cost before hedging of S$1.14 billion (-93.2 percent). Like most airlines, the Group focused on minimizing expenditures and increasing their liquidity in the first quarter to endure the ongoing crisis.

The Group reported that Singapore Airlines carried out 99.4% fewer passengers than in Q1 2019, while its subsidiaries' SilkAir and Scoot's passenger revenue dropped by 99.8% and 99.9%, respectively.

The airline parked a majority of its fleet, leaving just 32 aircraft active in passenger service.

Since June 8, when the first Fast-Lane arrangement was established between Singapore and selected cities in China, more transit restrictions have been lifted; there has also been partial resumption of transfers via Changi Airport.

Some of these include reviewing its fleet size based on its needs, as well as negotiating with aircraft manufacturers to adjust delivery orders and payment schedules to reduce near-term cash outflows. All seven freighters are operational while 33 passenger aircraft have also been deployed on cargo-only services. A total of 148 aircraft out of 220 in the group's fleet are now stored away.

The group also reiterated the outlook provided in an earlier circular, stating that "the recovery trajectory in worldwide air travel is slower than initially expected", and will take between two to four years for passenger traffic numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels. "It will take between two to four years for passenger traffic numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels".

In all, SIA has raised about $11 billion in liquidity since the start of its financial year in April. SIA said that it will step up the frequencies of selected routes if demand picks up in the coming months.

SIA believes that its passenger capacity may reach less than half of its pre-Covid-19 levels by the end of FY21. There was a 19% increase in cargo load factor, in large due to the lack of passenger flights that transport some cargo.

The airline said it was reviewing the size and shape of its fleet over the longer term, which was likely to lead to a material impairment in the value of older aircraft, particularly the Airbus A380, which would account for S$1 billion.

The integration of SilkAir into SIA also remains on track, as it transitions its SilkAir narrowbody operations to SIA, starting with the 737-800 aircraft in Q4 FY21.

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