SIA reports first full-year loss as demand collapses amid COVID-19

Singapore's national carrier reported its first ever full-year loss in 48 years of history, as demand for air travel collapsed in the first quarter of 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For the financial year ending March 31, 2020, Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group reported a net loss of SGD 212 million, a reversal from the SGD 683 million profit last year. 

Photo courtesy: Singapore Airlines
Photo courtesy: Singapore Airlines

In a press statement, SIA said it had entered the fourth quarter of 2019 on the back of a strong performance from the first nine months – driven by robust passenger numbers and extensive initiatives from its transformation plan. 

Market conditions deteriorated abruptly in February 2020, however, as the COVID-19 outbreak halted global travels. Fears of the virus spread, in addition to travel restrictions and border controls around the world, led to a collapse in demand for air travel. 

SIA swung into an operating loss of SGD 803 million for the latest quarter, compared to a profit of SGD 253 million last year. 

The airline noted that moving forward, the prospects for a recovery in international air travel for the coming months will depend on when border controls and travel restrictions ease. "There is no visibility on the timing or the trajectory of the recovery at this point, as there are few signs of an abatement in the COVID-19 pandemic," SIA said.