SIA spends half of $8.8b raised amid Covid-19 pandemic

$4.4b used to repay credit, redeem bonds, and for ticket refunds, and operating and capital expenditure

Singapore Airlines says it has taken steps to significantly reduce its monthly expenditure. These include the deferral of non-essential projects and discussions with aircraft makers to defer the delivery of aircraft, as well as slashing salaries and
Singapore Airlines says it has taken steps to significantly reduce its monthly expenditure. These include the deferral of non-essential projects and discussions with aircraft makers to defer the delivery of aircraft, as well as slashing salaries and putting staff on no-pay leave and introducing voluntary early release schemes.ST PHOTO: CHONG JUN LIANG

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has spent half of the $8.8 billion that it raised through its rights issues, as airlines continue to be battered by the Covid-19 pandemic that has paralysed air travel.

Of the total amount, $2.5 billion has been used for one-off items.

This comprises $2 billion to repay a bridge loan that was taken to tide the company over from March to June until the proceeds of the rights issues came through in early June.

Another $500 million was used to redeem SIA's 10-year bonds.

The remaining $1.9 billion was used for ticket refunds and repayment of funds previously drawn under certain lines of credit.

It was also used to meet the company's operating and capital expenditure in June and July, SIA said in an announcement to the Singapore Exchange on Wednesday.

SIA raised the funds in June, after the Covid-19 outbreak and resulting border restrictions emptied the skies and kept planes grounded.

The airline industry is unlikely to recover fully before 2024, the International Air Transport Association said last month.

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, SIA has taken steps to significantly reduce its monthly expenditure, a spokesman told The Straits Times.

 
 
 

These include the deferral of non-essential projects and discussions with aircraft manufacturers to defer the delivery of aircraft.

"SIA has also cut the salary of all staff members, we have asked people to go on furlough and offered various no-pay leave schemes, and we have introduced voluntary early release schemes", he said.

The airline said: "We will continue to pursue cost management measures and will also explore additional means to shore up our liquidity as necessary."

To curb costs, the Singapore carrier has slashed salaries and put staff on unpaid leave as it operates at less than 10 per cent of capacity.

SIA posted a first-half loss of $1.85 billion as the pandemic wiped out passenger traffic. Cathay Pacific lost HK$9.9 billion (S$1.78 billion) and Qantas A$1.96 billion (S$1.92 billion).

Earlier this week, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced that an additional $187 million will be pumped into Singapore's aviation sector, which includes airlines, ground handlers, cargo agents and airport tenants.

  • $1.85b

  • First-half loss posted by SIA as the pandemic wiped out passenger traffic. Cathay Pacific lost HK$9.9 billion (S$1.78 billion) and Qantas A$1.96 billion (S$1.92 billion).

The SIA Group - which comprises SIA, SilkAir and budget carrier Scoot - has also received approval for its passengers from Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia to transit through Singapore.

The five countries are the first from the region whose passengers the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore has allowed to transit here after border restrictions were slightly eased on June 2.

SIA shares closed 0.28 per cent higher yesterday at $3.63.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 21, 2020, with the headline 'SIA spends half of $8.8b raised amid Covid-19 pandemic'. Print Edition | Subscribe