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Singapore Airlines Halts Athens Flights After 40 Years

Singapore Airlines Ltd., flying to Athens since 1972, will halt the service to the Greek capital starting October because of weak demand.

Asia’s second-largest carrier by market value will also halt service to Abu Dhabi, with the last flights to the two cities from Singapore leaving on Oct. 26, Singapore Air said in an e-mailed statement today. The carrier currently offers two weekly services to Athens and three to Abu Dhabi.

“The suspensions are in line with Singapore Airlines’ policy to match capacity to prevailing market demand,” the carrier said. The airline has flown to Abu Dhabi since 2006.

Singapore Air plans to slow capacity growth to 3 percent in the year ending in March compared with 5 percent in the previous 12 months amid global economic uncertainties and higher fuel costs. The carrier posted a surprise loss in the quarter ended March 31, its first in more than two years.

Athens International Airport SA, Greece’s top airport, last month reported a 11 percent drop in first-quarter passenger traffic as the nation’s economic crisis hit travel spending and protests dented Greece’s image abroad.

Singapore Air rose 0.5 percent to close at S$10.33 in Singapore before the announcement. The stock has climbed 1.7 percent this year, trailing a 7 percent gain in the benchmark Straits Times Index.

The airline industry’s profit will drop 62 percent this year as fuel costs rise, the International Air Transport Association forecast on March 20. Air China Ltd., the world’s largest carrier by market value, and China Southern Airlines Co. both posted lower profits for the three months ended March.

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