Singapore Airlines to ground all but nine planes

Singapore Airlines will cut capacity by 96 per cent until the end of April.

The decision comes following the further tightening of border controls around the world to stem the Covid-19 outbreak.

This will result in the grounding of around 138 Singapore Airlines and SilkAir aircraft, out of a total fleet of 147.

The company described the situation as “the greatest challenge that the Singapore Airlines Group has faced in its existence”.

The group’s low-cost unit, Scoot, will also suspend most of its network, resulting in the grounding of 47 of its fleet of 49 aircraft.

The 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.

Singapore Airlines said it was is unclear when the it would be able to begin to resume normal services, given the uncertainty as to when the stringent border controls will be lifted.

The company added it was actively taking steps to build up its liquidity, and to reduce capital expenditure and operating costs.

These include potential deferred payments for planes, while salary cuts have also been agreed for management and directors.

Given the worsening situation, Singapore Airlines added unions have been engaged on the additional cost-cutting measures that are needed warned steps “will be taken imminently”.

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