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Coronavirus: Singapore Airlines suspends flights to Germany, Italy, France and Spain

SIA routes to eight European cities have been suspended due to new travel restrictions imposed on visitors

SQ A350 Pushback (Alan Wilson)

In a newly expanded list of countries with travel restrictions imposed by the Singapore government on 13th March 2020, now including European coronavirus ‘hotspots’ Germany, Italy, France and Spain, Singapore Airlines has been forced to cancel a significant number of services to the region.

Airbus A380 services from Singapore to New York JFK via Frankfurt will also be suspended.

What changed?

Due to large outbreaks of coronavirus in these four countries, the Ministry of Health (MOH) announced that from 11.59pm on Sunday 15th March 2020 visitors from Germany, Italy, France and Spain will not be allowed to visit or transit through Singapore.

Singapore citizens, permanent residents and long-term pass holders with travel history to any of these countries in the last 14 days will be issued with a stay-home notice on arrival, and will therefore have to remain at home for 14 days after returning to Singapore.

Country Active COVID-19 Cases
it Italy 16,221
es Spain 5,039
de Germany 3,629
fr France 3,650
sg Singapore 103

Cancellations

The following services to and from these four countries will be cancelled until further notice.

Flight No. Route Effective
SQ25/26 Frankfurt / New York JFK 17 Mar – 31 May
SQ326/325 Frankfurt 16 Mar – 31 May
SQ328/327 Munich 17 Mar – 31 May
SQ334/333 Paris 16 Mar – 28 Mar
SQ336/335 Paris 16 Mar – 31 May
SQ338/337 Dusseldorf 17 Mar – 30 May
SQ356/355 Milan 8 Mar – 31 May
SQ366/365 Rome 14 Mar – 31 May
SQ378/377 Milan / Barcelona 7 Mar – 30 May
SQ388/387 Barcelona 16 Mar – 31 May

Note that services between Singapore and Milan, including those continuing from Milan to Barcelona, were already suspended in early March 2020.

Copenhagen is also cancelled

Not announced formally by Singapore Airlines at the time of writing, however Denmark’s new border closure policy means SIA’s flights will not be commercially feasible and GDS already reflects SQ352/351 service cancellation from 16th March through 31st May 2020.

Flight No. Route Effective
SQ352/351 Copenhagen 16 Mar – 31 May

This is in line with the provisional service suspension dates SIA has applied to other affected European destinations like Paris and Frankfurt. The route is no longer bookable between these dates via singaporeair.com.

Other European services are not affected at this stage, though some frequencies have been reduced. That means even after the above cancellations take effect, you’ll still be able to travel on SIA flights to and from:

  • Amsterdam
  • London
  • Manchester
  • Stockholm (via Moscow)
  • Zurich

Latest: Just as we published this article, New Zealand announced that all visitors would need to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival in the country from midnight on Sunday 15th March. Further flight cancellations on those routes are now likely.

Updated cancellation totals

These cancellations are in addition to a wide range of global service reductions already announced by the airline, and add 1,298 cancellations to the previous 190 cancelled to and from the Europe region between now and the end of May 2020.

Cancellations Preview 14-3
See the full list of cancelled flights here. (PDF, 235 KB)

Here’s how the service reductions look by month for each airline between March and June 2020, in addition to over 700 cancellations that occurred in February 2020.

Note that the Singapore Airlines flight cancellations list does not currently reflect full suspension of the Copenhagen route. We have included it however in the cancelled flight totals below.

Cancelled Flights
(updated 14th March 2020)
Singapore_Airlines SilkAir Total
SIA SilkAir
Mar 2020 2,153 1,197 3,350
Apr 2020 2,201 690 2,891
May 2020 2,073 530 2,603
Jun 2020 339 60 399
Total 6,766 2,477 9,243

Overall, Singapore Airlines had originally planned to operate around 32,000 flights during this four-month period, so the cancellation rate for the airline by flight volumes averages at 21.1%.

SilkAir had planned 14,000 sectors, giving them a cancellation rate by flight volumes of 17.7%.

Service suspensions now also extend into June 2020, with a smaller number in July and August (not shown).

Here’s how the service reductions look by month for each airline as a percentage of originally planned flights now cancelled.

Cancelled Flights
(updated 14th March 2020)
Singapore_Airlines SilkAir Total
SIA SilkAir
Mar 2020 26.9% 34.2% 29.1%
Apr 2020 27.5% 19.7% 25.1%
May 2020 25.9% 15.1% 22.6%
Jun 2020 4.2% 1.7% 3.5%
Total 21.1% 17.7% 20.1%

Cancellations peak in March, with nearly 27% of Singapore Airlines flights (more than 1 in 4) and 34% of SilkAir flights (1 in 3) originally scheduled now not going ahead.

These new Europe cancellations spanning into April and May 2020 mean SIA’s total flight volume cut of over a quarter continues into those months.

Cancelled Flights
(updated 14th March 2020)
Singapore_Airlines Singapore Airlines Cancellations by region
Region Mar ’20 Apr ’20 May ’20 Jun ’20 Total
USA 154 212 228 85 679
Europe 336 545 607 4 1,492
North Asia 1,038
1,037
666
240
2,981
Southeast Asia 414 278 236 0 928
South West Pacific 117
99
298
10
524
Africa and West Asia 94 30
38
0
162
Total 2,153 2,201 2,073 339 6,766

Aside from the new Europe cancellations, North Asia sees a significant jump in April since our last update, with most service suspensions to and from China now extended throughout that entire month (as we predicted).

Cancelled Flights
(updated 14th March 2020)
SilkAir SilkAir Cancellations by region
Region Mar ’20 Apr ’20 May ’20 Jun ’20 Total
North Asia 314
312
0
0
626
Southeast Asia 704 342 454 60 1,561
South West Pacific 44
18
40
0
102
West Asia 134 18
36
0
188
Total 1,197 690 530 60 2,477

As with SIA mainline operations, almost all of SilkAir’s China flights (North Asia) are now cancelled in April, almost doubling the cancellation rate that month compared with the last update.

Southeast Asia still takes the biggest hit of SilkAir cancellations, representing 63% of the total over the four-month period.

Ticket waivers

If you’re booked on one of the affected flights to or from Europe, Singapore Airlines will waive all cancellation and change fees for customers with tickets issued on or before 13th March 2020.

This applies for travel to and from France, Germany, Italy and Spain from 10th March 2020 to 31st May 2020. For rebooked travel, the new travel date must commence on or before 31st August 2020.

Denmark (Copenhagen) services are not currently included at the time of writing, but are likely to be added to the list imminently.

If you booked your tickets through a travel agency, you should contact your agent for assistance.

Passengers in Europe who booked their tickets on the Singapore Airlines website can contact the customer service agents in their respective countries or by calling the Singapore reservations team, with contact details available here.

Summary

Singapore is being very cautious with its approach to the coronavirus, winning praise from the World Heath Organisation over the way it is containing the pandemic.

Part of this approach is to keep the number of imported cases to a minimum, so adding these countries to the restricted list isn’t a surprising development given the apparent rapid spread of the virus in those areas.

MOH Notice
Quite a few new countries will need to be added to the list. (Photo: MainlyMiles)

The Denmark (Copenhagen) case is slightly in reverse, with that country closing its borders to tourists, visitors and foreigners “without a credible reason to visit” being turned away for the next month.

That makes SIA’s flights unfeasible to operate, and both GDS and the Singapore Airlines booking system confirms these flights have also been axed until the end of May.

Overall, the cancelled flight rate is now dramatic at over 25% for the mainline carrier, with close to 9,000 cancellations between now and the end of May 2020.

Singapore Airlines has stopped giving guidance on how the flight cancellations translate into a capacity reduction in Available Seat-Kilometres (ASKs), but with so many of these longer flights now included it’s likely to be similar to the % flight volume reduction.

At the peak of the SARS outbreak, SIA’s capacity by ASKs was cut by around 30%.

(Cover Photo: Transport Pixels)

3 comments

  1. Haha, what a joke re contacting the customer service center. Zurich office is closed and the phone number is always busy, tried 50 times already. Worst customer service ever experienced

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