SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines reported an annual loss of almost US$150 million Thursday, driven by the collapse in air travel caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and the latest sign of the outbreak’s devastating impact on the aviation sector.
The airline group — which includes subsidiaries SilkAir and Scoot — suffered a net loss of S$212 million (US$148 million) for the financial year that ended on March 31, compared to a profit of S$683 million last year.
The city-state’s flag carrier lost S$732 million in the fourth quarter, mainly due to a reduction in passenger revenue as the virus crisis exploded.
“Fears about the spread of the virus, as well as global travel restrictions and border controls, led to a collapse in the demand for air travel during the quarter,” the airline said in its financial report.
The recent collapse in oil prices also led to S$710 million fuel hedging losses in the fourth quarter.
Singapore Airlines cut passenger capacity by 96% from April to June and grounded most of its fleet as people stopped flying due to the pandemic.
The airline’s majority shareholder, state investment fund Temasek, has thrown its weight behind a rescue package to help the carrier weather the pandemic.
The International Air Transport Association estimates that airlines operating in the Asia-Pacific region stand to lose a combined US$27.8 billion of revenue this year.
The trade body said last month that global air traffic suffered a 52.9% drop in March compared with the same period last year — the “largest decline in recent history” — due to coronavirus-related travel restrictions.