Singapore Airlines Grapples with Delta Variant as COVID Losses Persist

Singapore Airlines faces an uneven road to recovery as the more contagious delta variant of the new coronavirus and a persisting pandemic threaten to upend the resumption of mass travel worldwide, Nikkei Asia reported. The Singapore Exchange-listed company on Thursday reported a net loss of 409 million Singapore dollars ($302 million) for the April to June quarter -- the first in its new financial year, after racking up an annual net loss of SG$4.27 billion the year before. "The growing pace of mass vaccination exercises across many countries provides hope for further recovery in international air travel demand," SIA said in a press release. "However, the risk of new variants and fresh waves of COVID-19 infections in key markets remains a concern." During the second quarter, SIA showed in an SGX filing that it was operating at 24% to 28% of pre-COVID passenger capacity across the group -- still a far cry from its days before the pandemic, but an improvement over the 3% to 5% of pre-COVID capacity it experienced in the same period a year ago. The SG$409 million net loss in itself was also already an improvement over the SG$1.12 billion in losses it sustained over the same quarter a year ago. "Border controls and travel restrictions remained largely in place," SIA noted of the three months to June. It expects passenger capacity to be around 33% of pre-COVID levels in the July to September quarter. By the end of September, the company said it expects to serve around 50% of the points that were part of its passenger network before the onset of the pandemic. Read more.