SIA's Sept passenger traffic up on VTL tailwind

The Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) arrangement has helped to lift demand for Singapore Airlines (SIA), as the designated carrier for the quarantine-free travel arrangement reported an uptick in passenger traffic and group passenger load factor.

The flag carrier noted in its filing of operating statistics to the Singapore Exchange last Friday that Singapore's first VTLs with Brunei and Germany last month have boosted demand, especially to the European country.

The group's total passenger traffic rose by 4.4 per cent in September, while its group passenger load factor improved by 1 percentage point month on month to 18.5 per cent, on the back of strong demand for the Frankfurt and Munich VTL services.

The passenger load factor, which measures the percentage of available seating capacity filled by paying passengers, was 1.3 percentage points higher year on year, driven by stronger demand for flights to Europe and the Americas, SIA elaborated.

But the carrier's cargo load factor, at 87.4 per cent, was 1.6 percentage points lower year on year as SIA expanded its capacity by about 57 per cent and loads (freight tonne-kilometres) rose by about 54 per cent.

The group expects its passenger capacity to reach around 37 per cent of pre-Covid-19 pandemic levels by December, according to its current published schedule. The passenger capacity, SIA reported, was at 32 per cent last month.

The group's VTL services will cover a total of 17 cities as Singapore has expanded the travel arrangement to another nine countries, including Britain and the United States. SIA will put its Airbus A380 planes on the flights to London from Nov 18.

In addition, SIA stated that it will add transpacific and transatlantic services when Frankfurt-New York and Hong Kong-San Francisco flights resume from early next month.

Scoot, the low-cost carrier in the mainboard-listed airline group, will resume services to Phuket in Thailand and Jeddah in Saudi Arabia this month.

At the end of last month, the SIA group's passenger network covered 65 destinations, including Singapore.

SIA flights to Surabaya, Indonesia, were suspended because of airport closure, and operations to Nanjing, China, and West Asia remain suspended until further notice.

SIA shares closed flat at $5.55 on Friday.

THE BUSINESS TIMES

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2021, with the headline 'SIA's Sept passenger traffic up on VTL tailwind'. Subscribe