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Singapore Airlines cuts 96% of planned capacity as Singapore shuts borders to visitors

All but some essential routes will be axed

Following Singapore’s announcement over the weekend to bar all foreign visitors and even restrict long term visitors to come in, Singapore Airlines announced it will be cutting 96% of its scheduled capacity till end-April 2020, along with it, grounding 138 out of 147 aircraft.

This comes after Scoot suspended most of its network until late April, grounding 47 out of 49 aircraft.

Deeper cuts

Singapore Airlines have previously said it will cut its capacity by up to 50% just last week, after drastic measures put in by the Singapore government to place most travellers on 14-day Stay Home Notice (SHN).

With the latest tightening of Singapore’s border control, Singapore Airlines is definitely an inevitable victim of circumstances, with virtually zero

As of last Saturday after all in-bound travellers are required to serve 14-day SHN, only a mere 600 odd visitors entered the country – probably the lowest Singapore has ever seen in decades – and this number will be zeroed in the weeks ahead.

Flights to be operated

At the time of writing, Singapore Airlines have only updated its schedule up to 11 Apr. Between 29 Mar and 11 Apr, Singapore Airlines will only operate a handful of flights (presumably for repatriation purposes) to London, Los Angeles and Shanghai.

SectorFlight no.DaysDepArrFlight timeAircraft
SIN-LHRSQ30829 to 31 Mar0900154013h 40mA380-800
SIN-LHRSQ31829 to 31 Mar1235191513h 40mB777-300ER
SIN-LHRSQ32229 to 31 Mar23300555(+1)13h 25mA380-800
LHR-SINSQ31729 Mar to 1 Apr11250730(+1)13h 5mA380-800
LHR-SINSQ31929 to 31 Mar20501655(+1)13h 5mA380-800
LHR-SINSQ32129 to 31 Mar22051810(+1)13h 5mB777-300ER
SIN-LAXSQ3829 Mar2045214015h 55mA350-900
LAX-SINSQ3730 Mar00050815(+1)17h 05mA350-900
PVG-SINSQ83329 Mar to 11 Apr165022205h 30mB777-300ER

Interesting, the Singapore-Shanghai sector has been zeroed out, so it could be a case where the flight is only used for repatriation from Shanghai to Singapore.

No availability on SIN-PVG SQ830

Darker days ahead

In what seemed to be a pessimistic outlook in its press statement, Singapore Airlines said:

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 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.

Singapore Airlines press release, 23 March

Measures taken by Singapore Airlines

Of course, with so many aircraft lying around, it’s easy to ask the airlines to put them through maintenance or upgrading, but given the current uncertainty that may not be the best idea too given the high cost of it.

Singapore Airlines has already announced plans to stabilise its financial position by cutting management salaries, as well as asking staff to go on no-pay leave.

The airline is also talking to Boeing and Airbus to defer the dozens of upcoming aircraft deliveries, which will ease its debt for a bit.

Final thoughts

The full schedule of the reductions is not out yet, but similar to other airlines who are still operating, we expect Singapore Airlines to still fly a nominal schedule to strategic links, including Indonesia, Malaysia, China, Australia.

It’s highly likely that all long-haul routes will be axed, although the airline may mount repatriation flights to some cities known to have a huge population of Singaporeans, such as London.

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