Singapore Airlines has warned that the coronavirus epidemic represents the “greatest challenge” it has ever faced as the flag carrier cut 96 per cent of its passenger flights in response to the crisis.
Late last night the island city-state took extreme steps to combat the spread of the disease by banning all inbound travellers.
In response, the airline will ground 138 out of its 147 planes – including the planes of subsidiary Silk Air – as well as 47 of budget carrier Scoot’s 49 planes.
Singapore is also taking additional steps to mitigate the financial impact of the crisis, including implementing salary cuts for staff and delaying new aircraft orders from suppliers.
It is also in discussion with various banks about extending its credit lines and securing further liquidity in the face of the ongoing disruption.
In a note released before the measures were implemented, brokerage UOB Kay Hian said that the carrier needed “backstop liquidity” of at least 5bn Singapore dollars (£3bn) by June.
In a statement, the airline said that it would “continue to aggressively pursue all measures to address the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the company”.
“It is unclear when the SIA Group can begin to resume normal services, given the uncertainty as to when the stringent border controls will be lifted,” it added.
Shares in the airline dropped nearly 11 per cent during the day’s trading.
The global financial capital has been one of the states to best tackle the coronavirus outbreak, only confirming its first two deaths from the illness this weekend, despite being one of the first countries outside of China to be afflicted.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, Singapore has only had 455 confirmed cases of the disease, considerably lower than many of its neighbours.