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Coronavirus impact: Singapore Airlines to operate only 50% of the capacity

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on March 17, 2020 Published on March 17, 2020

Changi Airport experienced a 32.8 per cent decline in passenger movements last month.   -  Bloomberg

In the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic, Singapore Airlines (SIA) on Tuesday said that it is suspending additional services across its network by up to 50 per cent till the end of April.

According to the airline, this comes at an unprecedented time in the airline industry, when countries around the world impose border controls to stem the Covid-19 outbreak. “Today’s suspensions mean that SIA will operate only 50 per cent of the capacity that had been originally scheduled up to end-April.” Given the growing scale of the border controls globally and its deepening impact on air travel, SIA expects to make further cuts to its capacity, it added in a statement on Tuesday.

Prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, Singapore Airlines Group, including Singapore Airlines, Silk Air and Scoot operated 140 weekly flights between India and Singapore. Last week, the Indian government had suspended all visas, simultaneously, several airlines had cancelled multiple flights to India.

Changi airport in Singapore is the hub of Singapore Airlines. According to a recent report in The Straits Times, Changi Airport experienced a 32.8 per cent decline in passenger movements last month, compared with the same period last year. “As of Monday, the available seat capacity at Changi Airport for March has also fallen by close to 30 per cent of what was originally scheduled, said the Changi Airport Group (CAG).” BusinessLine wasn’t able to immediately confirm the above information.

SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong on Tuesday said, “We have lost a large amount of our traffic in a very short time, and it will not be viable for us to maintain our current network. Make no mistake – we expect the pace of this deterioration to accelerate. The SIA Group must be prepared for a prolonged period of difficulty.”

The airlines is actively taking steps to build up on their liquidity. “The SIA Group will also consult the unions once again as it urgently takes steps to further cut costs. Additional measures will be announced when they have been firmed up,” it said.

Singapore’s flag carrier on Monday had said that it is offering waivers on rebooking for tickets in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Singapore Airlines said that it will waive all rebooking fees for tickets issued on or before 15 March 2020, for travel up to 31 May 2020, with immediate effect. “Customers can cancel their existing flight itineraries, retain the value of their tickets and rebook their travel at a later date, when they are able to firm up their new travel plans. The new flight itinerary should be completed by 31 March 2021.”

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Published on March 17, 2020
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