Singapore Airlines to reduce flights as coronavirus outbreak hits demand
In the months leading up to May this year, Singapore Airlines (SIA) will temporarily reduce flights across its global network, as the coronavirus outbreak hits demand for services to the Asian city-state, as well as through the primary transit hub.
SIA provided a link to the list of flights that will be impacted by the decision in the announcement posted on its website.
The airline has confirmed that the key affected destinations will Tokyo, Sydney, Seoul, Paris, Mumbai, Los Angeles, London, Jakarta and Frankfurt.
The carrier said, “Singapore Airlines and SilkAir will temporarily reduce services across our network due to weak demand as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.”
“We will continue to monitor the situation and make further adjustments as necessary.” the airline added.
SIA also stated that the customers impacted will be “notified and re-accommodated onto other flights.
“If you have booked your tickets through a travel agency, please contact your agent for assistance. If you have booked your tickets directly with Singapore Airlines, please contact the SIA reservations team at (+65) 6223-8888 if you need any assistance,” announced the airline.
The cutbacks follow significant reductions already planned in services to China and Hong Kong. Flights to mainland China accounted for 11 per cent of the airline’s capacity in the December quarter, and more for Scoot the budget arm.
DBS analyst Paul Yong said, “It’s not a surprise to see some cuts in flights, given the weak forward bookings that can be expected from the current environment.”
After China, demand on flights to South Korea and Japan have taken the biggest hit, Yong quoted the management team of SIA as having told analysts at a results briefing on Monday.
Those were the regions with the most significant cutbacks in Tuesday’s announcement.
Singapore’s total of 77 cases of the virus is one of the largest outside of mainland China where the outbreak killed more than 1,800 people.
The Asian tourism and travel hub last week said it would expect visitor numbers to decline by a quarter or more this year, affected by the virus outbreak.
In addition to city-state visitors, Singapore Airlines also relies heavily on transit traffic. Premium travel has suffered as a result of the outbreak after many business events around Asia were cancelled.
Due to low demand, Hong Kong-based rival Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd has also said it is cutting 40 per cent of capacity across its network, up from 30 per cent earlier.