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Singapore Airlines cuts capacity on a swathe of worldwide routes

Singapore Airlines has cancelled 494 flights, plus 180 of its regional subsidiary SilkAir, between March and May 2020. What routes are affected and which come out worst?

SQ 77W (Aero Pixels)

6th March 2020: Singapore Airlines has updated its list of cancelled flights due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Click here for the latest information.

The recent outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) has had a severe impact on flights to and from China and Hong Kong in particular, with Singapore Airlines already drastically cutting its schedules to those destinations in the last few weeks, while also suspending crew layovers in China.

Like many carriers in the region, Singapore Airlines is also having to cut capacity on its network in other markets due to falling demand. This morning the airline announced a range of service cancellations on over 40 routes including Tokyo, Sydney, New York and London, between March and May 2020.

“Singapore Airlines and SilkAir will temporarily reduce services across our network due to weak demand as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.” SIA Spokesperson

A total of 674 flights have been cancelled; 494 Singapore Airlines services and 180 SilkAir ones, representing about 2% of the two airlines departures over the period. Affected passengers will be reaccommodated onto other flights.

2020 Cuts
Click to see the full list of flight cancellations by route (pdf, 510 KB)

No single region is immune from the service reductions, however it’s North Asia destinations taking the brunt of the cuts as you might expect.

We’ve analysed how the reduction applies in percentage terms compared to the number of flights originally scheduled to operate on each route, a far more meaningful metric than the number of cancellations alone.

For example SilkAir cancelling 4 Kuala Lumpur flights in March is just a 1% reduction (barely worth mentioning), while Singapore Airlines cancelling 6 Dusseldorf flights in May is a much more significant 17% capacity cut.

Key % of flights cancelled
< 5 %
5 – 10%
10 – 15%
> 15%

Here’s a summary of the cancellations, which between Singapore Airlines and SilkAir affect over 40 routes in total.

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North Asia (158 flights)

Singapore_Airlines Cancellations
(% of originally scheduled flights)
Mar Apr May
Tokyo 2
(0.5%)
16
(4.4%)
64
(17.2%)
Seoul 26
(10.5%)
16
(6.7%)
30
(12.1%)
Busan 4
(12.5%)


Click here for a full list of affected flights

Tokyo sees significant service reductions in May, with 17% of flights cancelled, while Seoul doesn’t fare much better with 12% of flights cut.

South Asia & South East Asia (134 flights)

Singapore_Airlines Cancellations
(% of originally scheduled flights)
Mar Apr May
Taipei 6
(4.8%)
34
(28.3%)
14
(11.3%)
Jakarta 20
(3.6%)

Bangkok 14
(3.8%)
10
(2.8%)
Brunei 8
(19.0%)
12
(27.3%)
Dhaka 8
(9.1%)
   
Mumbai 8
(4.3%)
   
Click here for a full list of affected flights

Taipei’s cut is one of the most significant on the network at 28% of capacity during April 2020 (though March and May see smaller reductions).

Brunei only has five SIA services per week, so cuts of 8 and 12 in April and May respectively represent a large proportion on that route.

For well-served routes like Bangkok and Jakarta, though the cancellation numbers look large, this is really ‘tinkering at the edges’ with capacity – more than 95% of flights will operate as normal.

Australia / New Zealand (94 flights)

Singapore_Airlines Cancellations
(% of originally scheduled flights)
Mar Apr May
Brisbane 6
(2.4%)
Christchurch 6
(9.7%)
Perth  
30
(12.1%)
Melbourne 18
(6.2%)
Sydney 34
(11.0%)
Click here for a full list of affected flights

There are no planned cancellations on Australia and New Zealand flights until May 2020, when Perth sees the biggest hit losing 12% of its flights, followed by Sydney at 11%.

Christchurch loses the same number of flights as Brisbane during the month, however the impact on that ‘once per day’ route is far more stark, representing a 10% capacity cut.

Interestingly Auckland and Wellington have escaped any cancellations for now, so the overall impact on New Zealand flights is relatively limited.

Africa & Middle East (12 flights)

Singapore_Airlines Cancellations
(% of originally scheduled flights)
Mar Apr May
Dubai 4
(6.7%)
6
(9.7%)
Johannesburg   2
(2.3%)
 
Click here for a full list of affected flights

A relatively small number of flights to and from Dubai and Johannesburg have been cancelled in April and May.

USA (14 flights)

Singapore_Airlines Cancellations
(% of originally scheduled flights)
Mar Apr May
New York 2
(1.6%)
Los Angeles   2
(1.4%)
4
(2.7%)
Seattle     6
(13.6%)
Click here for a full list of affected flights

Seattle takes the biggest hit in the small number of USA cancellations, with 3 fewer flights to the city in May 2020 (plus 3 flights back), representing a 14% capacity cut that month.

Europe (82 flights)

Singapore_Airlines Cancellations
(% of originally scheduled flights)
Mar Apr May
Frankfurt 4
(3.2%)
4
(3.3%)
10
(8.1%)
Paris 6
(9.7%)
Copenhagen  
8
(12.9%)
London 2
(0.8%)
42
(16.9%)
Dusseldorf 6
(16.7%)
Click here for a full list of affected flights

March and April are relatively safe, however May 2020 sees a significant proportion of flight cancellations to and from London (17%), Dusseldorf (17%), Copenhagen (13%), Paris (10%) and Frankfurt (8%).

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SilkAir cuts

SIA’s regional subsidiary SilkAir is cancelling 180 flights between March and the end of May 2020, with the following routes affected:

SilkAir Cancellations
(% of originally scheduled flights)
Mar Apr May
Penang 2
(0.6%)
4
(1.2%)
10
(3.0%)
Yangon 10
(1.6%)
Surabaya 4
(3.8%)

Makassar 2
(7.7%)
2
(7.7%)
Koh Samui 8
(6.5%)
6
(5.0%)
6
(4.8%)
Bandung 8
(12.9%)
4
(6.7%)
Balikpapan 2
(7.7%)
2
(7.7%)
Kuala Lumpur 4
(1.0%)

Phnom Penh 2
(1.3%)
4
(2.6%)
Siem Reap 2
(2.3%)
10
(11.5%)
Darwin 18
(29.0%)
2
(3.3%)
8
(12.9%)
Cairns 14
(22.6%)
Cochin 36
(34.6%)

Colombo 2
(7.7%)
Kathmandu 4
(6.5%)
Male 6
(7.7%)
Click here for a full list of affected flights

By far the biggest impact for SilkAir flights is Cochin in March, with over a third of flights cancelled, though strangely all flights are restored in the April and May rosters.

Darwin is next, with 29% of services cut in March and 13% in May (though the airline is clearly confident about Easter bookings, with only a 3% cut applied in April).

Cairns also sees a significant drop in of 23% in May.

MI A319 USM (Jeerapan Jankaew)
SilkAir’s cancellations include Koh Samui, but that’s far from the worst affected route. (Photo: Jeerapan Jankaew / Shutterstock)

Other routes, including the airline’s popular