SIA Group posted a record operating profit of S$556 million (around US$403 million) in the first quarter ending June, as the city-state’s flag carrier swung back into the black amidst soaring demand for air travel. This is the airline’s highest quarterly operating profit since the third quarter of FY 2007–2008.
Earnings for the period also reversed into a profit of S$370 million (US$268 million). The airline group’s capacity climbed to 61 percent of the pre-covid capacity in Q1 from around 47 percent in the previous quarter (Q4, 2021/2022) .
Revenue in the first quarter skyrocketed 202 percent year on year to S$3.9 billion (US$2.83 billion), as the airline saw passenger flown revenue soar 119.3 percent to S$2.8 billion (US$2.03 billion). Cargo-flown revenue in the quarter, however, dipped 1.5 percent to S$1.1 billion (US$800 million) no thanks to flattened air freight demand due to pandemic-related lockdowns in China.
Muted cargo demand in the first quarter was offset by higher yields on key lanes between Asia and Europe due to capacity constraints, and SIA predicts that yields will remain higher than thepre-covid level amidst tightened air cargo capacity on key trade lanes, particularly between Europe and Asia, due to ongoing conflict.
Operating a young aircraft fleet with an average age of six years and three months, the airline group forecasts its capacity to increase by up to around 68 percent of the pre-covid level in Q2 of the current fiscal year, and elevate to 76 percent by the third quarter of FY 2022–2023. It expects travel demand to remain robust in the near term heading into the year-end holiday period, as forward sales remain buoyant for the next 3 months until October 2022, the airline said.
Cargo yields are expected to remain higher than the pre-covid level despite slowed air cargo activity during the summer as capacity remains tight on key trade lanes between Europe and Asia.