- Net profit for the second quarter rose 68 per cent to $94 million
- Strong passenger traffic growth continues to support operating performance
- Cargo demand remains weak amid trade uncertainties
- Vistara accelerates expansion and commences international operations
GROUP FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE First Half 2019/20
The SIA Group achieved a net profit of $206 million in the first half of the financial year, $10 million (+5.1%) higher than last year.
Revenue rose $418 million (+5.3%), primarily from strong growth in passenger flown revenue, partially offset by a reduction in cargo flown revenue, while higher expenditure (+$431 million or 5.8%) reflected enlarged operations. Accordingly, operating profit for the Group was $413 million, down $13 million or 3.1% compared to the same period last year.
The Group recorded a reduction in share of losses from associated companies (+$36 million), mostly from Virgin Australia, and a higher share of profits from joint venture companies (+$19 million). These were offset by increased net finance charges (-$54 million) due to the recognition of interest expense arising from lease liabilities following the adoption of IFRS 16 Leases and additional financing for fleet renewal and expansion.
SilkAir continues to be adversely affected by the global grounding of the Boeing 737 MAX 8 aircraft, clocking an operating deficit of $19 million for the period.
Notwithstanding a reduction in capacity (-1.1%) from route transfers to Scoot and the withdrawal of the 737 MAX 8s from service, the carrier achieved passenger flown revenue growth of $4 million (+0.9%). Passenger load factor rose on the back of a 2.8% increase in traffic, driving a 1.2% improvement in RASK. However, this was negated by lower non-scheduled services revenue and incidental revenue, leading to a $6 million decline in operating revenue. Expenditure was up $10 million, partially attributable to 737 MAX 8 related costs, along with higher net fuel cost.
Total revenue for Scoot improved $7 million, driven by passenger flown revenue growth of $29 million as capacity expansion (+5.6%) was matched by higher passenger traffic (+5.8%). However, passenger revenue improvements were tempered by weaker RASK (-2.1%) on lower yields, declines in cargo revenue (-$4 million or 13.0%) and other operating revenue (-$18 million). Expenditure rose $74 million (+8.5%), mainly a result of higher depreciation from a larger fleet. In addition, Scoot continued to proactively reduce aircraft utilisation during the period to improve operational resilience. As a result, the carrier recorded an operating loss of $77 million, a deterioration of $67 million year-on-year.
Second Quarter 2019/20
Group net profit for the second quarter rose $38 million (+67.9%) to $94 million, mainly attributable to improvement in share of results from associates and joint ventures (+$78 million), partially offset by higher net finance charges (-$28 million) for the quarter.
Operating profit for the second quarter contracted $20 million (-8.6%) to $213 million, as expenditure increased $180 million (+4.7%), mainly from capacity injection, outweighing revenue growth of $160 million (+3.9%). Passenger revenue grew $244 million (+7.5%), while cargo revenue declined $93 million (-16.3%). Ex-fuel cost rose $160 million (+6.0%), following a 6.2% increase in capacity, while net fuel costs were $20 million (+1.7%) higher.
During the quarter, the Parent Airline Company began operations of its inaugural Seattle services on 3 September 2019, its fourth non-stop service to the US, following the successful launch of Newark flights a year ago. In addition, Busan services launched by SilkAir in May, were taken over by SIA from 28 October 2019, boosting seat capacity to cater to growing demand. Seasonal services to Sapporo will also be operated from 30 November 2019 to 6 January 2020. As at 30 September 2019, SIA served 65 destinations, including Singapore.
SilkAir continues to see network changes as part of the planned merger with SIA, completing the transfer of Chiang Mai, Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam operations to Scoot in October. It is also on track to transfer Kota Kinabalu in December 2019, subject to regulatory approvals. Conversely, SilkAir took over Kochi services from Scoot from 27 October 2019, adding four more services to its existing 10 non-stop flights a week. As at 30 September 2019, SilkAir served 43 destinations, including Singapore.
Following the commencement of Fuzhou and Kota Bharu services in July 2019, Scoot added two new destinations in India, Coimbatore and Visakhapatnam, to its network from 27 October 2019. Scoot also suspended services to Quanzhou and Male, along with adjusting Harbin flight frequency to a Northern Winter (October to March) only seasonal service, to better match demand and capacity. Seasonal frequency additions will also be made for Melbourne, Perth, Phuket and Sydney during the Northern Winter peak period. Scoot ended the quarter with 67 destinations, including Singapore.
Overall, the portfolio of airlines in the Group served 137 passenger destinations in 37 countries and territories, including Singapore, as at 30 September 2019.
Following the launch of Vistara’s first international route, to Singapore in August 2019, SIA and SilkAir signed an agreement with Vistara to expand codesharing to international destinations, subject to regulatory approvals. Vistara increased its fleet from 22 to 32 aircraft during the first half of the financial year, and commenced international operations to Singapore, Dubai and Bangkok. Vistara is set to continue rapid fleet growth in the second half as it takes delivery of new A320neo and A321neo aircraft, and inducts its first two widebody aircraft (787-9). As a result, it will almost double its fleet size during the financial year. This will allow Vistara to quickly increase its domestic and international networks and, importantly, to commence medium to long haul international operations in 2020.
Passenger bookings in the coming months are expected to be stronger year-on-year, with yields supported by premium cabin traffic. However, headwinds persist in the form of intensifying competition in key operating markets, as well as an uncertain global economic outlook. Cargo demand is likely to remain weaker year-on- year, despite the seasonal peak, amid ongoing trade tensions and a manufacturing slowdown in key export economies.
Fuel prices are expected to remain volatile, as a result of geopolitical and economic risks. For the second half of the financial year, the Group has hedged 75% of its fuel requirements in MOPS and 3% in Brent at weighted average prices of USD76 and USD54 per barrel respectively [Note 2]. The Group will continue to enter into longer-dated hedges extending to FY2024/25.
As it enters the final lap of its three-year Transformation programme, the SIA Group remains committed to enhancing customer experience, improving operational efficiency and boosting revenue by strengthening digital capabilities. The recent expansion of the KrisConnect programme is one significant milestone. Utilising technology enablers such as NDC (New Distribution Capability), and APIs (Application Program Interface), KrisConnect facilitates integration and exchange of content between the Group and its partners, enabling customers to access personalised offerings across more distribution channels in addition to traditional owned channels.
KrisShop, the airline’s flagship travel retailer, has been restructured to become a premium omni-channel e-commerce retailer. It will continue to expand its range of products and services through its themed concept stores and official brand stores on the new website. Optimised by advanced technological and logistics capabilities, KrisShop has introduced multiple consumer-centric initiatives for convenient payment, pre-order and delivery services. Additionally, the new SIA mobile app, designed for faster performance and improved usability to give customers a seamless and more personalised experience, was launched in August 2019. These initiatives are testament to the Group’s aggressive digital transformation efforts.
Above Copyright Photo: Singapore Airlines Airbus A350-941 9V-SML (msn 096) AMS (Antony J. Best). Image: 938574.
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