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Singapore Airlines and Scoot Inching closer to 2019

Singapore Airlines Group has been quick to take advantage of the easing of travel restrictions to Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong. In October, the group, which includes Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Scootin, grew by 6.2% from the previous month and reached 71% passenger capacity before COVID.

For several months, both airlines have been limited by a lack of access to North East Asian markets and with China largely banned, reaching 100% of 2019 levels is unlikely. Now that Japan and Taiwan have reopened, monthly traffic is likely to continue to grow, especially with the Lunar New Year holidays approaching. Demand will also increase as key markets in Australia hit the Christmas and school holidays, so the Star Alliance carrier has bright prospects.

The group carried 2.268 million passengers in October, almost twelve times the 189,700 it carried in October 2021. The added volumes allowed the airlines to tightly manage bandwidth and create a passenger group load factor (PLF) of 86.4% compared to just 20% in last year. . In October, the group’s capacity, measured by available passenger kilometers, increased by 4.9%, although passenger numbers rose by 6.2%.

SIA operates 125 of its 152 aircraft, so it has reserves to open its borders with China and growing demand from Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong and South Korea. Figures from ch-aviation.com indicate the airline has five Boeing 777-200ERs and seven 777-300ERs, plus three Airbus A350s and two A380s listed as inactive. Similarly, its narrow-body fleet of 15 Boeing 737 MAX and nine 737-800s is not 100% loaded, with four and three idle.

During the month, SIA carried 1.539 million passengers with a load factor of 86.5%. Going back to the two months to August, the load factor was not significantly different at 85.2%, but the geographical distribution showed the benefits of reopening markets in Northeast Asia. In August, PLF in East Asia was 70.6%, rising to 77.1% in October, with slight declines in North America and Europe. The Southwest Pacific is also on the rise, from 88.3% PLF in August to 93.7% in October.

Scoot is also growing, with 729,400 in October compared to 674,900 in September, up 8% month-on-month. Scoot’s PLF remained steady at 86.2% compared to August, although the mix changed with a decline in West Asia offset by growth in the rest of the world region. Scooter usage is stable, with 48 out of 60 operating in October. Its operational fleet includes 14 Airbus A320-200s, six A320neos, nine A321neos, nine Boeing 787-8s and ten 787-9s.

While China is largely banned, SIA and Scoot are maintaining some flights there and cautiously adding new destinations. In October, SIA resumed flights in China to Chengdu and Xiamen, while Scoot added Hangzhou, Wuhan and Zhengzhou. Outside of China, Scoot has also added four services to Indonesia with Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) routes to Lombok, Makassar, Pekanbaru and Yogyakarta. SIA now has 76 destinations and Scoot has 55.

Freight continues to decline with freight measured in tonne-kilometres, down 19.8% year-on-year. The higher number of passenger flights increased the group’s available cargo capacity, leading to a decrease in the cargo load factor to 52.6%, a decrease of 34.6 percentage points compared to October 2021.

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