Singapore Airlines

Where is Singapore Airlines flying its passenger aircraft on cargo-only flights in June?

Around 20 Singapore Airlines passenger aircraft per day now depart Changi with only cargo on board

SQ A350 Cargo Loading (Uwe Aranas SS)

We’ve been keeping an eye on one of the more interesting and growing uses of the Singapore Airlines passenger fleet over the last couple of months – cargo-only services with no passengers. This is our third look at that part of the network, having previously studied what was operating in both April 2020 and May 2020.

Last week a total of 35 cities on the network received at least some flights with passenger aircraft carrying only belly-hold cargo, and that’s without even counting where the airline’s dedicated Boeing 747 freighters were flying.

We decided to take another look at the cargo-only routes this month. The significant ramp up is showing no signs of abating, with the number of passenger aircraft departing Changi carrying only cargo on board increasing by 23% since we checked last month.


SIA remains effectively a cargo airline

Just yesterday we updated on the lowest ever passenger numbers recorded across SIA’s skeleton network of 14 cities to and from Singapore in May 2020. On average just 280 customers travelled on these flights each day – a 99.5% reduction compared with the airline’s more typical daily total of 60,000 customers.

The airline’s passenger load factor also fell to just 9.2% during the month.

SQ 787 2018 Y (Edward Russell)
Singapore Airlines passenger flights were less than 10% full in May 2020. (Photo: Edward Russell)

What continues to shift though is cargo, with a worldwide capacity shortage exacerbated by the grounding of almost all passenger flights.

While Singapore Airlines carried far less cargo in May 2020 compared to May 2019 for that very reason, cargo load factors on its flights increased from 60.5% to 74.9% year-on-year.

Fun fact: For every passenger carried, Singapore Airlines Group airlines used to carry 35kg of cargo (May 2019). Currently, they are shifting 4,708kg of cargo for every passenger carried (May 2020).

Fleet activity: June 2020

In our April 2020 analysis, at least 12 Singapore Airlines aircraft were departing Changi each day carrying only cargo, either in the underfloor holds of passenger aircraft or in one of the airline’s seven dedicated Boeing 747 freighter jets.

That increased to 18 in May 2020 and now averages 20 departures per day in June 2020.

On the busiest days 26 passenger aircraft depart with only cargo on board. Here’s how the airline’s 223 departures from Changi last week looked.

Singapore Airlines SIN Departures
(w/c 8th June 2020)
Day Passenger Aircraft
SQ 787 SCA Delivery (Paul Schmid)
SQ Cargo 747
Pax +
Mon 8 15 4
Tue 5 18 3
Wed 7 26 6
Thu 6 17 7
Fri 8 20 5
Sat 6 22 7
Sun 6 22 5
Total 46 140 37

SIA’s passenger departures from Changi are finally increasing this month, with last week marking the first flights under an increased schedule to 12 new cities. In total there were 46 Singapore Airlines passenger departures, a 50% increase compared to the 30 we saw in May 2020.

Cargo-only flights using the passenger fleet totalled between 15 and 26 daily departures from Changi, totalling 140 during the week. That’s a 23% increase since we checked last month.

Cargo-only operations by the passenger fleet currently outweigh passenger departures by around 3:1, making up over 60% of the airline’s flying activity.


Which routes?

Where are these 140 belly hold cargo services operating? We took a look at last week’s schedule and listed the departing flights from Changi in the following table, alongside the airline’s passenger services (which incidentally will also be carrying as much cargo as possible to maximise revenue).


Cargo-only flight
Passenger and cargo flight
Cargo outbound, pax and cargo inbound
Singapore Airlines Passenger Fleet Activity
SIN Departures
(w/c 8th June 2020)
South & South East Asia
Dest Flt Days Acft
AMD SQ530 77W
BKK SQ976 787
BLR SQ8004 359
BOM SQ422 359 R
SQ8022 359
CGK SQ952 359 R
SQ960 787
SQ966 359
359 R
DAC SQ446 359 R
SQ8046 359 R
DEL SQ8006 787
HAN SQ176 359 R
KUL SQ104 359
MAA SQ8028 787
MNL SQ910 359 R
SQ912 787
SGN SQ178 787
SUB SQ930 773
North Asia
Dest Flt Days Acft
CAN SQ850 787
FUK SQ656 787
HKG SQ856 359 R
SQ890 787
ICN SQ600 787
359 R
KIX SQ622 359 R
NRT SQ12 773