Singapore Airlines has announced that it will cancelling four destinations permanently as it continue to assess its network for the future, as part of its monthly operational update.
The four cities are: Canberra, Dusseldorf, Stockholm and Wellington. The decision was taken as the Singapore national carrier prepares for “a very different aviation landscape”, even after the Covid-19 pandemic pass.
The update comes shortly after the airline said it was retrenching up to 2,400 staff across the business, with the SIA group forced to downsize its manpower and fleet.
Singapore Airlines will suspend services to Canberra, Dusseldorf, Stockholm and Wellington as part of a review of its network due to the Covid-19 pandemic. These stations will be closed as a result of this decision.Singapore Airlines, August 2020 Operating Indicators
As a result, these destinations are no longer available in the Singapore Airlines’ booking engines. Customers who have a ticket for these destinations will be offered a refund or alternatives arrangements.
Three tag-ons, one end destination axed
Of the four destinations to be dropped, Canberra and Wellington both operated as a ‘tag-on’, which means that they were operated as a one-stop service via a intermediate destination.
Canberra and Wellington were both introduced to SIA’s network back in 2016, in a much publicised ‘Capital Express’, connecting Singapore to both Australia’s and New Zealand’s capitals.
This route also received much fanfare because the flight became Canberra Airport’s first international service, as well as Wellington Airport’s first regularly scheduled widebody aircraft to serve the airport.
The two destinations were later modified in 2018, where Canberra became part of the Singapore-Sydney-Canberra-Singapore triangular route, while Wellington was served via Melbourne.
The other two destinations, Dusseldorf and Stockholm, were also introduced only in recent years. Dusseldorf joined SIA’s network in 2016, and Stockholm in 2017. Both services never became a daily service, a sign that filling up seats were difficult to begin with.
With a reduced workforce and signs pointing towards a reduced fleet, it’s almost certain that SIA will trim its network for the near future, as with many other airlines.
As it is, the airline is almost certain to remove all of its A330 and the older Boeing 777s, including the 200 and the 300 (non-ERs), from its fleet and rely mainly on its 787s and A350s as the main workhorses.
My view is that this is definitely not the end of the network rationalisation exercise. With a significant cut to the operational workforce and the fleet, SIA will have to make further adjustments, including frequency reduction and smaller network.
After all, these first cuts represent a very small percentage of SIA’s pre-Covid-19 capacity, so this only means that more destinations will be lost over the next couple of months. There are many other new destinations within the Group, including Busan, Hiroshima, Seattle, as well as cities with two airports such as Tokyo and New York, all of which will certainly be at risk of being axed.
With Silkair being folded into the mainline from 2021, some of the destinations previously served by SIA may also be taken over by the Boeing 737s, with other Silkair destinations being dropped.