Singapore Airlines is down to operating just nine aircraft. The announcement came today as the nation banned transit passengers. Very few people are currently allowed into Singapore, apart from citizens and key workers.
Last week was one of the worst ever seen by the aviation industry. Multiple carriers announced intentions to suspend operations completely. Those that haven’t completely suspended operations are down to a skeleton fleet. However, it looks as though this week could be even worse than last. As the industry continues to be crippled by the unprecedented coronacrisis, global restrictions are being ramped up.
Only nine aircraft flying
The huge drop in passenger demand globally has seriously hit Singapore Airlines. The airline has a fleet of 147 aircraft. However, 138 of these have now been grounded, meaning that only nine remain in service. At the time of writing, the airline was still operating some Airbus A380s on routes including to London and Auckland.
The story is similar at the airline’s low-cost arm Scoot. This airline has a fleet comprised of 49 aircraft. Of these aircraft, just two planes, or 4% of the fleet, remain flying.
Why such a drastic reduction?
As a result of the Singapore Government’s decision to ban transit passengers at Singapore Airport, the vast majority of Singapore Airlines’ remaining business has dried up. Now the airline can only serve a select group of passengers including citizens and key workers.
The government is taking a strong stance on the crisis. According to the Straits Times, 80 percent of new coronavirus cases over the past three days were imported into Singapore.
Singapore Airlines has already been feeling the effect of the coronavirus pandemic for a couple of months. In fact, there were already concerns in the region when the Singapore Airshow was held in early February.
Not a complete grounding
Thus far Singapore Airlines has resisted completely grounding its fleet of aircraft. However, depending on how the situation plays out, this could be on the cards. There does come a point where it is more economical to pay to park aircraft than to keep them flying. Additionally, some are calling for airports to waive some fees at this difficult time for the industry.
Airlines that have been hit hard such as Singapore Airlines are trying to keep some key routes operational in order to repatriate stranded passengers. Even those that have grounded their entire fleet, such as Austrian Airlines, are keeping some aircraft operationally ready. This is so that should their use be needed, they are good to go.
Unfortunately, it seems as though the global situation is going to get worse before it gets better. Airlines halting operations are currently doing so for a period of around four weeks.
Have you been affected by Singapore Airlines grounding aircraft? What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments.