SIA makes significant capacity cuts and grounds aircraft

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) will be cutting 96 per cent of the capacity that had been originally scheduled up to end-April, given the further tightening of border controls around the world over the last week to stem the Covid-19 outbreak.

“This will result in the grounding of around 138 SIA and SilkAir aircraft, out of a total fleet of 147, amid the greatest challenge that the SIA Group has faced in its existence,” it said in its website.

SIA said the group’s low-cost unit Scoot will also suspend most of its network, resulting in the grounding of 47 of its fleet of 49 aircraft.

The SIA Group diversified its network and set up Scoot to spread its risks and cater to a wide range of passenger and market segments.

However, without a domestic segment, the group’s airlines become more vulnerable when international markets increasingly restrict the free movement of people or ban air travel altogether, it said.

The statement also noted that it is unclear when the SIA Group can begin to resume normal services, given the uncertainty as to when the stringent border controls will be lifted.

The resultant collapse in the demand for air travel has led to a significant decline in SIA’s passenger revenues, it said.

The airline operator said the company is actively taking steps to build up its liquidity and to reduce capital expenditure and operating costs.

SIA had on March 17 said it will continue to aggressively pursue all measures to address the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the company.

These include ongoing discussions with aircraft manufacturers to defer upcoming aircraft deliveries and if agreed, this will consequently defer payment for those aircraft deliveries.

The SIA Group’s management and the company’s directors had also agreed to a cut in their salaries and fees and a voluntary no-pay leave scheme up to certain management positions. – Bernama