Singapore Airlines cuts capacity by 10%, freezes hiring as virus takes toll

Publish February 25, 2020
aviation

The carrier has temporarily suspended more than 3,000 flights from February to end-May Travel demand has been hit due to the virus and also as governments imposed curbs on movement to contain the epidemic

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines has cut nearly 10 percent of its capacity, frozen recruitment for ground positions and deferred spending as it deals with lower demand due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
The carrier has temporarily suspended more than 3,000 flights from February to end-May, accounting for 9.9 percent of the group’s scheduled capacity, said the memo sent to staff.
“We will continue to be nimble and flexible in adjusting our capacity to match the changing demand patterns in the market,” Chief Executive Goh Choon Phong said in the memo, first reported by the Straits Times newspaper.
“We have also proactively reached out to our suppliers and partners to discuss additional mitigating measures during this difficult time,” he said.
The coronavirus, which originated in China last year, can be transmitted from person to person and has killed more than 2,500 people and infected over 80,000 people, mostly on the mainland.
Travel demand has been hit due to the virus and also as governments imposed curbs on movement to contain the epidemic, forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights.
Singapore Airlines, earlier this month, said it would cut capacity across its network in the three months to May including destinations like Frankfurt, Jakarta, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Paris, Seoul, Sydney and Tokyo.
It did not provide details on what percentage of capacity would be cut at the time.
On Tuesday, Singapore Airlines said its CEO had sent a memo to staff, without detailing the contents.
It said it was closely monitoring the situation and would take any additional measures needed, but would not do anything to harm its long-term competitiveness.
Hong Kong-based rival Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. has cut 40 percent of capacity across its network due to the fall in demand associated with the epidemic and asked all its employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave.

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