Photographer: Munshi Ahmed/Bloomberg

Singapore Airlines Returns to Profit

  • All Singapore Air units post operating profit in 1st quarter
  • Business outlook for airline industry is challenging, SIA says

Singapore Airlines Ltd. returned to a profit after a surprise loss in the last quarter, helped by a surge in the number of passengers and a recovery in the air cargo market.

The main Singapore Air brand and all other divisions, including the budget-carrier unit, the cargo unit and an engineering company, all posted a profit at the operating level in the three months ended June, helping achieve a net income of S$235.1 million ($173 million), according to a stock exchange statement. The airline posted a loss in the three months ended March, the first in three years.

A rebound in traffic and earnings numbers augurs well for a carrier that is undertaking a review of its entire business amid intensifying competition from Middle East airlines and budget carriers. Hong Kong-based rival Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. is also doing a review of its business as Asia’s marque airlines struggle to get passengers to pay more for tickets and boost their yields -- a key industry metric that refers to the amount a carrier earns from carrying a passenger for one kilometer.

“The business outlook for the airline industry remains challenging as the uncertain global economic climate and geopolitical concerns, coupled with overcapacity in our key markets, continue to dampen yield performance,” the airline said in the statement.

Here are the highlights of Singapore Air’s first-quarter earnings:

  • Brand Singapore Air first-quarter operating profit jumped 22 percent to S$241 million. The main airline had a loss in the fiscal fourth quarter.
  • Singapore Air passenger yield declined 1.9 percent year on year to 10.1 Singapore cents
  • SIA Cargo yield in the first quarter rises 4.8 percent

— With assistance by Sebastian Tong

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