Singapore Airlines sees hope in vaccines, progressive opening

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As Singapore Airlines continues to reel from Covid-19 pandemic border lockdowns, its cargo division has continued to log high cargo load factors, hitting 88.7 per cent in December.

It was the seventh consecutive month, SIA Cargo recorded a cargo load factor (CLF) in excess of 80 per cent and December’s level of 88.7 per cent was 29.6 percentage points higher year-on-year, as cargo traffic (measured in freight tonne-kilometres) declined 25.5 per cent on the back of a capacity contraction of 50.4 per cent. All route regions continued to record year-on-year increases in CLF during the month.

But with drastic reductions in passenger capacity – December capacity down 81.3 per cent on a 97.1 per cent drop in passenger carriage year-on-year – it’s not difficult to understand the growth in cargo load factors, however.

But going forward, the carrier sees some bright spots in the form of vaccine transport and progressive re-opening of passenger services.

“As we enter 2021, transporting and distributing vaccines globally will be one of the biggest and most complex public-private logistical tasks in recent history,” the carrier says.

SIA Cargo has been preparing for this over the last few months together with relevant stakeholders in Singapore and overseas. In December 2020, it marked an important milestone when SIA Cargo flew in the first shipment of Covid-19 vaccines to Singapore onboard a B747- 400 freighter.

“In line with Singapore’s progressive re-opening, as well as the gradual vaccination of the population across the world, we expect to see a measured expansion of the passenger network.”

Based on its current schedules, as of end-March 2021, the SIA Group’s total passenger capacity is expected to be at around 25 per cent of pre-Covid levels and it will serve around 45 per cent of the points that it flew to prior to the crisis.

“This would help to meet the strong demand for cargo services, and put us in a position to benefit from the recovery in passenger travel,” SIA says.


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