Singapore Airlines is cutting flights as epidemic hits

Published on : Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Singapore Airlines will temporarily cut flights across its global network in the three months to May, as a coronavirus epidemic hits demand for services to the Asian city state, as well as through the key transit hub. The key affected destinations include Frankfurt, Jakarta, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Paris, Seoul, Sydney and Tokyo, the airline said on its website.

 

Singapore Airlines said that Singapore Airlines and SilkAir will temporarily reduce services across their network due to weak demand as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. They will continue to monitor the situation and make further adjustments as necessary.

 

It declined to say what percentage of capacity it had cut in response to a query from Reuters, citing commercial sensitivity. The cuts follow major reductions already announced in services to mainland China and Hong Kong. In the Dec. quarter, flights to mainland China made up 11% of capacity for the airline, and more than that for budget arm Scoot.

 

DBS analyst Paul Yong said that it’s not a surprise to see some cuts in flights, given the weak forward bookings that can be expected from the current environment. The demand on flights to South Korea and Japan had been hit hardest after China, Yong quoted Singapore Airlines’ management team as having told analysts at a results briefing on Monday.

 

Those were the areas of the biggest cutbacks. Singapore’s tally of 77 cases of the virus is one of the highest outside mainland China, where more than 1,800 people have been killed in the epidemic.

Last week, the Asian tourism and travel hub said it expected visitor numbers to drop by a quarter or more this year, hit by the virus outbreak. Besides visitors to the city-state, Singapore Airlines also relies heavily on transit traffic. Premium travel has suffered after many business events were canceled across Asia because of the virus.

 

Hong Kong-based rival Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd has said it is cutting 40% of capacity across its network, up from 30% earlier, due to weak demand.

 


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