Coronavirus outbreak

SIA cuts more flights; Changi sees 33% drop in passengers

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has cut more flights to China and Italy, with more cancellations to Europe set to come as the Republic announces new travel restrictions.

The move comes after SIA and SilkAir axed thousands of flights to countries such as India, Japan, South Korea, Indonesia and Thailand earlier.

The impact of the coronavirus on global travel can be seen at Changi Airport, which experienced a 32.8 per cent decline in passenger movements last month, compared with the same period last year.

As of Monday, the available seat capacity at Changi Airport for March has also fallen by close to 30 per cent of what was originally scheduled, said the Changi Airport Group (CAG).

An SIA spokesman told The Straits Times yesterday that the cuts announced to date will result in a 15.6 per cent reduction in capacity for both SIA and SilkAir.

In total, the SIA Group, which also comprises budget airline Scoot, has cut its capacity by 18.7 per cent compared with what it had originally scheduled from February to the end of May.

In a statement yesterday, CAG said the fall in passenger movement fits in with patterns recorded in every other region of the world last month, with the exception of Africa.

Given the perception that the coronavirus originated in Asia, South-east Asia and North-east Asia were the most impacted, with the number of people travelling in and out of China almost halving last month - the largest decrease among major markets in Asia.

Hong Kong also saw a 75 per cent drop in passenger movement. The corresponding figure for South Korea is 46 per cent, Taiwan 38 per cent, and Thailand 33 per cent.

Taken together with statistics recorded in January, passenger traffic in the first two months of the year at Changi Airport is 12.9 per cent lower than in the same period last year.

Similarly, aircraft movements were 4.7 per cent lower for January and February combined, compared with last year's figures.

There was however an increase in the amount of airfreight passing through Changi Airport, which CAG attributed to the "urgent fulfilment of backlogs after a prolonged factory shutdown in China and the extra leap-day year".

  • 32.8%

    Decline in passenger movements at Changi Airport last month, compared with the same period last year.

CAG said it will continue to run various promotions to help its tenants, including the Trolls World Tour during the March school holidays.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 14, 2020, with the headline 'SIA cuts more flights; Changi sees 33% drop in passengers'. Print Edition | Subscribe