Singapore Airlines Cargo (SIA Cargo) continues to see declining freight traffic with an 8.1 per cent decline in volume for the month of February, year-on-year to 73.9 million kg from the 80.4 million kg it uplifted in February 2013.
Expressed in freight tonne kilometres (FTK), the Singapore carrier saw a drop of 11.1 per cent to 414.7 million FTK. Although capacity contracted by four per cent it was not enough to offset the shrinking cargo volumes, leading to a cargo load factor of 58.1 per cent, down 4.6 percentage points.
“Load factors were lower on all route regions mainly due to weaker seasonal demand that was further affected by the Lunar New Year lull period,” SIA Cargo said.
The cargo load factor declines were led by the Southwest Pacific region which declined eight percentage points to 47.8 per cent; West Asia and Africa which was down 5.5 percentage points to 59.3 per cent; Americas which dropped 3.7 percentage points to 64.2 per cent; East Asia which dropped 2.7 percentage points to 47.5 per cent; and Europe which remains the strongest performer at 74 per cent load factor, down slightly by 1.9 percentage points.
Meanwhile,Singapore Airlines’ system-wide passenger carriage (measured in revenue passenger kilometres) decreased 2.1 per cent against capacity reduction (measured in available seat kilometres) of 0.4 per cent. Consequently, passenger load factor (PLF) fell 1.4 percentage points to 76.8 per cent with the number of passengers carried decreasing by 1.8 per cent to 1.4 million.
The weaker passenger carriage was attributed to a combination of Lunar New Year demand shifting from February last year to January this year and softer demand to Bangkok as a result of the ongoing political protests there.
“The operating environment continues to remain challenging. Efforts to stimulate demand to maintain loads will continue to place downward pressure on yields,” the carrier said.
SIA Cargo also announced it would make a financial provision of S$6 million in its financial statements for the current financial year, in the context of a proposed amicable resolution to the competition investigations in the air cargo sector in Australia. Following competition investigations in the air cargo sector, a class action was commenced in Australia in 2007 against several airlines including SIA Cargo, which the airline vigorously defended since its commencement.