By John Flett
Singapore Airlines Reports Dramatic Surge in Passenger Numbers
Together with low-cost subsidiary Scoot the airlines of SIA Group carried 5.1 million passengers in Q1 2022-23. This number is a 158.2% increase over the previous quarter when Singapore was restricting travel to the country. Since April the island state has opened fully to vaccinated travelers and as a result, SIA Group is reporting ‘forward sales staying buoyant for the next three months up to October 2022.’
SIA Group, of which flag carrier Singapore Airlines is but one subsidiary, posted a record first-quarter profit of S$556 million ($402 million) for the period from April – June (Q1 2022/23). Unlike the calendar year approach of U.S. business, the financial year in Singapore commences on 01 April and ends on 31 March. The result for the SIA Group is the highest for the first quarter and the second largest quarterly profit in the organization’s history. These impressive results were achieved with capacity at only 61 percent of pre-pandemic levels.
SIA Group reported that by the end of Q1 2022-23 Singapore Airlines was operating a fleet of 127 passenger aircraft and seven freighters. During the quarter one of two recently delivered Airbus A350-900s entered into operation along with three Boeing 737-8’s the airline had received in the 2021/22 financial year. Scoot was now operating 55 passenger aircraft and together the SIA Group’s fleet had an average age of six years and three months.
The airlines of SIA Group were hit particularly hard by the pandemic given there is no domestic market to cater to. Travel restrictions across the globe and the country’s strict entry requirements have constrained an earlier recovery. Restrictions in part of East Asia continue to limit a full restart for the Group in some key markets and prior connectivity from these regions to Europe. Though the group was able to reinstate services in the quarter to Cebu, Davao, Hat Yai, Kota Kinabalu, and Medan in South East Asia.
At the end of the reporting quarter, the passenger airlines of SIA Group were operating to a total of 98 destinations in 36 countries and territories with the cargo network serving 107 destinations. According to the report the pre-pandemic network for the SIA Group consisted of ‘137 destinations in 37 countries and territories, including Singapore’ and it is projected that the Group’s airlines will be at 76 percent of pre-pandemic capacity by the end of 2022.
In the Northern Winter operating season (30 October 2022 to 25 March 2023) as more countries ease or remove travel restrictions, the Group will be seeking to capitalize on the increased passenger demand. Singapore Airlines is planning to increase services to Japan and restore its pre-pandemic network in India in addition to adding flights to Los Angeles and Paris. Scoot is also planning to expand Japanese services with non-stop services to Tokyo-Narita and Osaka and add capacity to existing destinations such as Manila, Seoul and Bangkok.