Story and photos by Dr. Michael Lim The Travelling Gourmet TM
Copyright all rights reserved
The indomitable and irrepressible Travelling Gourmet TM reveals how…
MARVELLOUS SIA, the world’s best airline is still carrying on despite its toughest year caused by the horrible china virus. Make no mistake, the horrible virus was wilfully spead by china worldwide and more and more evidence has emerged showing this.
Singapore Airlines passenger traffic is down 97.9% due to global restrictions on international travel
• Luckily strong cargo revenues cushioned plunge in passenger contributions
• $2.0 billion non-cash impairment charge largely on removal of 45 older aircraft
• Proposed issuance of additional mandatory convertible bonds to strengthen
Group’s liquidity position in order to navigate crisis and secure future growth
• Transformation programme reinforces foundation for SIA Group to emerge
Financial Year 2020/21
The china virus/Covid-19 pandemic, which began to spread globally in February 2020,
resulted in unprecedented restrictions on international air travel at the start of the
financial year. Successive waves of Covid-19 infections and more virulent strains
emerged over the course of the 12 months. As a result, the Singapore Airlines (SIA)
Group’s passenger traffic (measured in revenue passenger-kilometres) shrank 97.9% in
the financial year ended 31 March 2021 from a year before.
Group revenue fell by $12,160 million (-76.1%) year-on-year to $3,816
million due to the plunge in passenger flown revenue across Singapore Airlines, SilkAir
and Scoot – the three passenger airlines within the Group. This was partially offset by
higher cargo flown revenue, which rose by $758 million (+38.8%) year-on-year to $2,709
million. Improvements in freighter utilisation, deployment of passenger aircraft for cargoonly flights, and removing seats from passenger cabins to create additional volume for
cargo partially mitigated the loss of passenger aircraft bellyhold capacity during the
pandemic. Strong air cargo demand, especially in key segments such as e-commerce,
pharmaceuticals and electronics, provided strong support for both cargo load factors and
yields amid tight industry cargo capacity.
FLEET AND NETWORK
The Group operating fleet currently consists of 162 passenger aircraft and
seven freighters. This excludes 414 aircraft which are deemed surplus to the Group’s
requirements, six Boeing 737 MAX 8s that have been temporarily withdrawn from
service, and two aircraft (one Airbus A330 and one Airbus A320) that left the operating
fleet in preparation for lease returns.
During the fourth quarter, the Group continued to expand its network in a
calibrated manner by resuming services to some destinations, and adding frequencies to
some existing points. The transfer of narrow-body services from SilkAir to SIA began on
4 March, starting from Phuket. At 31 March 2021, SIA served 47 destinations including
Singapore, up from 38 at the end of December 2020. SilkAir served five destinations,
down from eight, while Scoot’s network increased by one to 18 destinations. By the end
of the financial year, the Group’s passenger network covered 60 destinations including
Singapore, compared to 54 three months earlier. The Group’s cargo network comprised
72 destinations including Singapore, up from 66 as at 31 December 2020.
Based on our current published schedules, the Group expects the passenger
capacity to be around 28% of pre-Covid levels by June 2021. By July 2021, the Group
capacity is expected to reach around 32% of pre-Covid levels, and we expect to serve
around 49% of the points that were flown before the crisis.
Even though mass vaccination exercises are in progress in most of our
major markets, the prognosis for the global airline industry remains uncertain. While
domestic markets have recovered in some countries, international air travel remains
severely constrained and its recovery trajectory is still unclear.
TRANSFORMING TO EMERGE STRONGER AND FITTER
The integration of SilkAir’s narrow-body operations with Singapore Airlines
began on 4 March 2021, with the first SIA Boeing 737-800 NG aircraft operating to
Phuket. Nine 737-800 NG aircraft have joined the SIA fleet. The integration will deliver
greater economies of scale for the Group, and enhance the flexibility of aircraft
deployment to meet the demand for air travel as it returns.
Robust health and safety measures have been and continues to be a key
focus area for the SIA Group, to safeguard the well-being of our customers and staff. Over
100 touch points have been reviewed throughout the customer journey with
enhancements made, supported by digital technologies. These efforts were recognised
with both SIA and Scoot being awarded the Diamond certification in the Airline Passenger
Experience Association (APEX) Health Safety powered by Simpliflying audit of global
airlines. The Diamond rating is the highest level attainable, indicating that an airline has
put in place hospital-grade health safety measures, processes and training, along with an
end-to-end focus on wellness.
SIA is also the world’s first airline to pilot the International Air Transport
Association’s (IATA) Travel Pass mobile application for digital health verification, further
enhancing convenience along the customer journey. SIA plans to integrate the entire
digital health verification process into the SingaporeAir mobile app from around mid2021, using IATA’s Travel Pass framework.
The SIA Group was among the first in the industry to vaccinate its frontliners,
including cabin crew and pilots, providing added safety and reassurance for both our
customers and staff members. Around 98% of SIA Group pilots and cabin crew have
signed up for the vaccine, of which 96% have been fully vaccinated with both doses.
On 11 February 2021, Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot became among the first carriers
in the world to operate flights with a full complement of vaccinated pilots and cabin crew.
SIA is committed to continuously improving its capabilities in transporting
high-value, time-sensitive, and temperature-controlled pharmaceutical cargo through its
THRUCOOL service. This contributed to SIA’s early readiness to perform the important
mission of transporting Covid-19 vaccines safely and reliably. In addition to transporting
Covid-19 vaccines to Singapore, SIA Cargo has carried vaccines to countries in Asia and
the South West Pacific region, including under the UNICEF vaccine transportation
Upon receiving IATA’s Centre of Excellence for Independent Validators in
Perishable Logistics (CEIV Fresh) certification in February 2021, SIA launched THRUFRESH,
a new service that transports temperature-sensitive perishable cargo with speed and care.
The Travellig Gourmet TM says: SIA, You always have my support!