Singapore Airlines Cancels Nearly All Flights

Filed Under: Singapore

Up until now Singapore Airlines has taken a fairly mild approach to cutting capacity, at least in comparison to other global airlines. For example, the company’s previous plan was to cut capacity over the coming weeks by 50%.

Well, that has finally changed.

Singapore Airlines announces massive capacity cuts

Singapore Airlines has announced that they plan to cut 96% of capacity through the end of April 2020, given the further tightening of border controls around the world. The airline states that it’s unclear when normal flights will be able to resume, given the uncertainty.

With this, Singapore Airlines and SilkAir will ground 138 out of their 147 aircraft. That’s right, all but nine Singapore Airlines and SilkAir aircraft will be grounded.

All but nine Singapore Airlines & SilkAir planes are being grounded

Furthermore, Scoot, Singapore Airlines’ low cost carrier, will ground 47 of 49 aircraft. Scoot was created to diversify risks and cater to a different market segment, but without a domestic airline segment, the airline has also become vulnerable when international markets are restricted.

Scoot is grounding 47 of 49 aircraft

What flights is Singapore Airlines canceling?

This page lists all of the Singapore Airlines flights that have been canceled. They sure don’t make it easy to sort through what’s still operating, since they list the 96% of flights that are canceled, rather than the 4% of flights that are operating.

I’ve searched availability in just about all markets, and I see virtually no inventory, including on flights to the US (including Houston, Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco), and I don’t see anything either to Hong Kong, London, Frankfurt, Melbourne, Seoul, Sydney, Taipei, Tokyo, etc.

Singapore Airlines has more or less cut the world’s first, fifth, and ninth longest flights, from Singapore to Newark, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, respectively. This means that Singapore Airlines’ fleet of A350-900ULRs is mostly grounded.

With the airline operating just a few percent of flights, you can expect that a vast majority of destinations are canceled.

Singapore Airlines has cut the world’s longest flight

Singapore Airlines is trying to cut costs

Like virtually every other airline, Singapore Airlines is trying to cut costs and build up liquidity. The airline will continue to pursue the following measures to cut costs:

  • Ongoing discussions with aircraft manufacturers to defer upcoming aircraft deliveries; if agreed, this will consequently defer payment for those aircraft deliveries
  • Salary cuts for the SIA Group’s management with directors also agreeing to a cut in their fees, and a voluntary no-pay leave scheme up to certain management positions
  • Given the worsening situation, the unions have been engaged on the additional cost-cutting measures that are needed
  • The SIA Group has drawn on its lines of credits to meet its immediate cash flow requirements

Singapore Airlines is looking to cut costs

Which aircraft could Singapore Airlines defer?

Above it’s mentioned that Singapore Airlines would like to defer aircraft deliveries as much as possible, so what do they have on order? Singapore Airlines has the following planes on order:

Obviously at this point the industry is in survival mode, so they need to do what they need to do.

However, there are potentially quite implications to these planes being deferred in terms of passenger experience:

The 777-9 is supposed to feature an updated first class

Bottom line

At this point nothing is surprising anymore. Turkish Airlines will operate to just five destinations, Cathay Pacific will operate to a dozen destinations (but only 3x weekly), Emirates is nearly shutting down, and now you can add Singapore Airlines to that list.

What do you make of Singapore Airlines’ strategy to cut capacity?

  1. Glad to see S’pore tighten borders and SQ follow with capacity cuts. Changi airport was full of passengers when I was there on 3/20 and the SKL had several guests hacking up their lungs (and the staff was doing zilch about it). Most travelers at the airport were boomer age from Australia/NZ/EU.

  2. Having deakt with SQ’s draconian mileage theft policy, I wish them good riddens. I can bet they will not extend miles one day during this almost shutdown. remember, this is an airline that follows the “use them or lose them” policy which is fair. Should you book an award to use your miles and then have a weather related change they will erase those miles.

  3. Hong Kong (HKG) is banning transit and any non-HK residents entering Hong Kong starting at midnight on Wednesday for 14 days, with the exception of people from Mainland China, Taiwan, and Macao who have not visited foreign oversea countries (like Europe and USA) in the past 14 days. Expect Cathay to cut further for the next 14 days, probably stop flights to LAX, YVR, and LHR completely for at least those 14 days.

  4. Guarantee this airline will be fine. It is owned by the government (well the government and Temasek which is owned by the government). The country is very proud of it’s national airline and it’s airport. Singapore has taken very strict measures from day 1 to control the virus. If you look at the daily stats most of the recent cases of the virus are from imports rather than local infections – hence the decision to shut out foreigners. Even expats on EP’s (Employment passes) are not being allowed back into the country – the exception being if you work in the health care sector. I personally know of 3 expat families who are impacted by this. As for the union they will have very little impact in Singapore.
    As an aside I just read in the Hindustan times that the Indian government is banning domestic flights from Tuesday midnight. SIA also of course are a major stakeholder in Vistara.

  5. I never though I’d be alive the day Emirates, Cathay Pacific, and Singapore Airlines would stop (most) of their operations. The world is ending 🙁

  6. What is the take on Qatar flights. Will they follow the rest and shut down? Hamad international… will they also stop all flights

  7. @Jake All three major international hub and spoke model carriers with (for obvious reasons) no domestic market. Presumably QR and EY are in a similar position too unless they’re getting government guarantees.

    Obviously, the recent government change to ban transit passengers at SIN in addition to the mandatory 14 day quarantine for arrivals made it impossible for SQ, TR and MI to keep going.

    Apart from SQ pushing back new aircraft orders, I assume that the SQ A330s, B772s and B772ERs have carried their last SQ revenue passengers.

  8. @Editor: “With this, Singapore Airlines and SilkAir will ground 138 out of their 147 aircraft. That’s right, all but nine Singapore Airlines and SilkAir aircraft will be grounded.”

    You mean, Only 9 airplanes will still be operating. -Right?

    Your statement is contrdictory. Kindly request to look into.

  9. What’s worse is that they are refusing to refund fares for canceled flights. The only option is an extension of the ticket validity until 3/31/21. With what seems like reduced service for at good while, a lot of people will lose their money.

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