Singapore Airlines reports nearly $150-million virus loss

Agence France-Presse
With the coronavirus pandemic paralyzing the aviation industry, Singapore Airlines suffers a net loss for the financial year that ended on March 31

SINGAPORE AIRLINES. A Boeing 787-10 aircraft taxis to the terminal after its arrival from Boeing's production facility in North Charleston, South Carolina, at Singapore Changi Airport on March 28, 2018. 
File photo by Roslan Rahman/AFP

SINGAPORE – Singapore Airlines reported an annual loss of almost $150 million on Thursday, May 14, driven by the collapse in air travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and the latest sign of the outbreak’s devastating impact on the aviation sector.

The airline group – which includes subsidiaries SilkAir and Scoo – suffered a net loss of Sg$212 million (US$148 million) for the financial year that ended on March 31, compared to a profit of Sg$683 million last year.

The city-state’s flag carrier lost Sg$732 million in the 4th quarter, mainly due to a reduction in passenger revenue as the virus crisis exploded.

“Fears about the spread of the virus, as well as global travel restrictions and border controls, led to a collapse in the demand for air travel during the quarter,” the airline said in its financial report.

The recent collapse in oil prices also led to Sg$710 million of fuel hedging losses in the 4th quarter.  

Singapore Airlines cut passenger capacity by 96% from April to June and grounded most of its fleet as people stopped flying due to the pandemic.

The airline’s majority shareholder, state investment fund Temasek, has thrown its weight behind a rescue package to help the carrier weather the pandemic.

The International Air Transport Association estimates that airlines operating in the Asia-Pacific region stand to lose a combined $27.8 billion of revenue this year.

The trade body said last month that global air traffic suffered a 52.9% drop in March compared with the same period last year – the “largest decline in recent history” – due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions. – Rappler.com