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SIA Group Posts Highest Net Profit In Its 76-Year History

Issue 18 - 2023
SIA Group Posts Highest Net Profit In Its 76-Year History

Singapore Airlines (SIA) achieved record revenue in its 76-year history, driven by solid demand, operating profit, and passenger load factor. Despite declining cargo demand, SIA's cargo revenue remained above pre-Covid levels, with robust near-term and forward passenger sales across all cabin classes.

Despite facing challenging conditions such as geopolitical and economic uncertainties, high-cost inflation, and increasing global passenger capacity, the airline industry continues to move forward. SIA is investing in strategic initiatives to strengthen its position for future opportunities, along with its commitment to providing the industry's best-in-class cabin products and impeccable services.

Following the record profit, the company has decided to distribute a final dividend of 28 cents per share.

Sia Group Financial Performance 

Financial Year FY2022/23 – Profit and Loss 

The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group financial performance for the financial year FY2022/23 is summarized as follows:

At the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, the Group acted swiftly and decisively to shore up liquidity and build its financial resilience. This strong liquidity position, and the confidence it engendered, enabled the Group to take a long-term view and make several strategic decisions ahead of the recovery in global air travel. SIA and Scoot retained most of their talented staff, who were ready to step up when called upon. A large proportion of the Group's aircraft fleet was kept operational, albeit at low utilization levels in the early recovery phase, ensuring they were properly maintained and fully functional. The Group built up a strong base network in a deliberate and calibrated manner, ensuring that SIA and Scoot were in a position to ramp up ahead of any return in passenger traffic. 

As a result, when the demand for air travel surged in FY2022/23 after Singapore fully reopened its borders in April 2022, and as restrictions on international air travel eased globally, SIA and Scoot could ramp up operations at short notice. Working collaboratively with key members of Singapore's aviation ecosystem, both carriers were among the first to launch flights as borders reopened and captured the pent-up demand as air travel returned.

Group passenger capacity reached 79% of pre-Covid1 levels in March 2023, higher than the 58% level for international scheduled services of Asia-Pacific airlines. SIA and Scoot collectively carried 26.5 million passengers, up six times from a year before. The passenger load factor (PLF) jumped 55.3 percentage points to 85.4%, the highest in the Group's history. SIA achieved a record PLF of 85.8%, while Scoot delivered a PLF of 83.9%.

The cargo segment's performance moderated year-on-year as the demand for air freight declined, and supply chain disruptions brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic subsided. Macroeconomic headwinds dampened consumer demand, while high inventory levels led to a slowdown in new orders. Cargo yields fell year-on-year as industry belly hold capacity increased with the progressive restoration of passenger flights. Nevertheless, cargo revenue remained 83% above the pre-Covid level recorded in 2019.

SIA Group revenue increased by $10,160 million (+133.4%) year-on-year to a record $17,775 million. Passenger-flown revenue rose $10,560 million (+376.3%) to $13,366 million as traffic grew 449.9%, outpacing the capacity expansion of 94.0%. Revenue per available seat-kilometer (RASK) was 10.0 cents, the highest yearly RASK in the Group's history. Cargo flown revenue fell $735 million (-16.9%) to $3,604 million as a result of lower cargo loads (-11.4%) and yields (-6.2%). Notwithstanding, this was the second-highest annual cargo revenue figure in the Group's history. Expenditure grew by $6,858 million (+83.4%) year-on-year to $15,083 million. This comprised a $3,020 million increase (+138.0%) in net fuel costs, a $3,761 million increase (+61.5%) in non-fuel expenditure, and a $77 million increase from the year-on-year impact of the fair value changes on fuel derivatives. Net fuel cost rose to $5,209 million, mainly due to the 49.6% increase in fuel prices (+$1,942 million) and higher volumes uplifted (+$1,495 million), and this was partially offset by higher fuel hedging gains (-$530 million). The increase in non-fuel expenditure was well within the 94.0% increase in passenger capacity.

Group's operating profit came in at a record $2,692 million, reversing the $610 million loss in FY2021/22. Operating profit for SIA was a record $2,601 million, an increase of $2,713 million from the previous financial year. Scoot achieved a record operating profit of $148 million, up $602 million from FY2021/22.

The Group posted a record net profit of $2,157 million for the year versus a $962 million net loss in the previous year (+$3,119 million). This was mainly driven by better operating performance (+$3,302 million) and lower net finance charges (+$338 million) and partially offset by a tax expense versus a tax credit last year (-$615 million).

The SIA Group's record financial performance for FY2022/23 is a testament to its proactive strategic initiatives, pre-emptive preparation that was made when borders remained closed, and the hard work, dedication, and sacrifices of its employees.

Fleet Development 

SIA took delivery of one Airbus A350-900 in March 2023 and one Boeing 787-10 in April 2023. These aircraft have since joined the operating fleet, alongside one 737-8 aircraft post the retrofit of its cabin.

As of 31 March 2023, the Group had 195 aircraft in its operating fleet comprising 188 passenger aircraft and seven freighters. SIA's operational fleet comprised 133 passenger aircraft and seven freighters, while Scoot had 55 passenger aircraft. With an average age of six years and nine months, the Group fleet is one of the youngest and most fuel-efficient in the airline industry. This allows it to pursue operating efficiencies and continue offering world-class products and services to its customers. This also supports the Group's decarbonization goals, as operating a young fleet of new-generation aircraft is the most effective and direct way for an airline to lower carbon emissions in the near term materially. 

The Group recently reached an agreement with Boeing to adjust its aircraft order book. This includes swapping three 787-9s for three 787-10s and canceling eight 737-8s. These adjustments align with the Group's long-term fleet renewal strategy and support its projected operational requirements. Following these adjustments, the Group currently has 100 aircraft in its order book.

Network Development 

In the fourth quarter of FY2022/23, SIA reinstated services to Guangzhou, while Scoot resumed services to Balikpapan and Qingdao. As of 31 March 2023, the Group's passenger network covered 109 destinations in 36 countries and territories. SIA served 74 destinations, while Scoot served 58 destinations. The cargo network8 comprised 118 destinations in 38 countries and territories.

For the Northern Summer operating season (26 March 2023 to 28 October 2023), the Group will expand its services to China with the resumption of Scoot's flights to Haikou, Ningbo, and Xi'an (April 2023), Nanning and Shenyang (May 2023), Jinan (July 2023), and Nanchang (August 2023). Scoot has increased flight frequencies to Athens, Fuzhou, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Langkawi, Makassar, Manado, Penang, Perth, Taipei-Hokkaido (Sapporo), Tianjin, and Zhengzhou. SIA will mount supplementary flights to Barcelona, Frankfurt, and Rome to meet the higher demand during the 2023 summer peak and resume services to Busan in August 2023. To align capacity with demand projections, SIA will suspend services to Vancouver in October 2023, and Scoot will suspend operations to Gold Coast in July 2023.

The SIA Group's capacity is projected to reach an average of around 83% of pre-Covid levels in the first half of FY2023/24.

Outlook

The demand for air travel remains robust in the first quarter of FY2023/24, underpinned by the recovery in air travel in East Asia. Forward sales remain healthy across all cabin classes, led by a strong pick-up in bookings to China, Japan, and South Korea. The Group will monitor the demand for air travel and adjust its capacity accordingly. 

Near-term cargo demand is expected to remain soft as the industry navigates headwinds from the macroeconomic environment and as inventory levels recalibrate to post-Covid conditions. Inflation and weak economic conditions will impact consumer demand and trade. Increased belly hold capacity amid softer demand continues to exert downward pressure on cargo yields, particularly on key trade lanes. 

Geopolitical and macroeconomic uncertainties, as well as high-cost inflation, could pose challenges for the airline industry in the months ahead. Even though fuel prices have moderated in recent months, they remain at elevated levels. As competition is expected to increase with more capacity being injected on international routes, the Group will monitor developments closely and be agile and nimble in its response.

The two chapters of the SIA Group's Transformation program, the first running from FY2017/18 to FY2019/20 and the second from FY2020/21 to FY2022/23, have strengthened its foundations to help the Group navigate future challenges.

Despite the pandemic, the Group remained committed to its longstanding strategy of buying and operating new-generation aircraft. This enables it to drive further operating efficiencies and support ongoing efforts to lower carbon emissions materially. The Group also continued investing in industry-leading products and services to strengthen its premium branding. This included retrofitting its Airbus A380 and Boeing 737-8 aircraft, revamping its flagship lounges at Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3, and an order for the all-new Airbus A350F freighters.

To prepare for the future, several strategic initiatives were undertaken, including the continued expansion of its network through deeper collaboration with like-minded airlines, the proposed merger of Air India and Vistara to bolster SIA's presence in the fast-growing Indian aviation market, as well as Scoot's decision to lease nine Embraer E190-E2 aircraft and expand its footprint to secondary points in the region.

The Group's robust financial position, commitment to offering best-in-class products and services, agility, and resilience, as well as its dedicated and talented staff members, will continue to strengthen its leadership position in the airline industry.

The SIA Group is grateful to all customers, shareholders, partners, staff, and stakeholders for their continued support, which it does not take for granted 


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