Singapore Airlines Ltd has recorded a S$142 million ($106.36 million) net loss for the third quarter as its passenger numbers plunged by 97.6% due to the COVID-19 pandemic, though its cargo business held up better given a tight freight market.
The loss compared with the prior year's S$315 million profit in the quarter ended December 31. Revenue fell by 76.1% to S$1.07 billion.
The bottom line loss was slimmer than its S$331 million operating loss due to a tax credit. Broker UOB Kay Hian had expected it to report a core loss of approximately S$470 million for the quarter, excluding any impairment charges, while UBS had forecast a net loss of S$330 million.
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Singapore Airlines operated approximately 19% of its pre-pandemic passenger capacity in December and said that it expected to reach approximately 25% of normal levels by the end of April as it adds flights to its schedule despite the spread of more transmissible variants of the coronavirus.
"In line with Singapore's progressive reopening, the group expects to see a measured expansion of the passenger network over the coming months," the airline said in a statement. "We will continue to monitor the status of travel restrictions and adjust our capacity accordingly to meet the traffic demand."
The carrier will begin operating Boeing Co 737-800 planes at its main brand from March as part of a plan to merge its regional offshoot, SilkAir, into the parent, with full integration expected by March of 2022.
Singapore Airlines has raised S$13.3 billion since the start of the pandemic and said that discussions on aircraft sale and leaseback deals are at an advanced stage.
The airline's staff have begun to be vaccinated against COVID-19 as part of the government's goal of making it the first carrier to have fully vaccinated employees.
2020 Job Cuts
Last year, the airline cut 4,300 jobs, or approximately 20% of its staff, due to the pandemic-related collapse in travel demand.