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Covid-grounded Singapore Airlines dives into the red again

Singapore Airlines
The deal allowed the airline to swap part of its order for 15 A320neo jetliners and two A350-900 passenger versions it previously ordered from Airbus and remain to be delivered. Reuters file photo.

Singapore Airlines has revealed a second consecutive record loss as the international carrier struggles to recover from a Covid-hit year.

The airline’s hit has now stretched to a record S$4.27 billion ($3.2 billion) and it will issue S$6.2 billion of convertible bonds to help it weather the continuing coronavirus crisis.

The loss for the 12 months ended March 31 was worse than the average S$3.27 billion forecast by analysts, according to Refinitiv, and included S$2 billion of impairments largely on 45 older planes surplus to requirements. 

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It was also far bigger than the S$212 million annual loss posted the year before – its first ever dip into the red – when only one quarter was affected by the pandemic. 

Annual revenue fell 76.1% to S$3.82 billion in the financial year ended March 31, with strong cargo revenues not enough to offset an almost 98% fall in passenger numbers.

The airline said it expected passenger capacity to rise to 28% of pre-pandemic levels by June, but much of that is due to strong freight demand sustaining the number of flights. It filled just 13.4% of passenger seats in the financial year ended March 31.

The airline, which has no domestic market, has been one of the world’s hardest hit in terms of passenger traffic alongside its Hong Kong-based rival Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. 


A proposed travel bubble between Singapore and Hong Kong that had been due to start on May 26 was postponed for the second time on Monday after a recent rise in Covid-19 case numbers in Singapore.

“This crisis is not over,” Singapore Airlines Chairman Peter Seah said in a statement. “While the growing pace of vaccinations has given us hope, new waves of infections around the world mean that restrictions on international travel largely remain in place.”

Like other carriers globally, Singapore Airlines has cut jobs, deferred aircraft deliveries and raised equity and debt financing to help get it through the pandemic.

The airline said it would issue S$6.2 billion of mandatory convertible bonds that were an optional part of a S$15 billion rescue package led by its majority shareholder, state investor Temasek Holdings, last year.

  • Reporting by Reuters

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Sean O'Meara

Sean O'Meara is an Editor at Asia Financial. He has been a newspaper man for more than 30 years, working at local, regional and national titles in the UK as a writer, sub-editor, page designer and print editor. A football, cricket and rugby fan, he has a particular interest in sports finance.


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