HongKong

Hong Kong travel bubble: Singapore Airlines uses smaller planes as flights begin

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The briefing came three days after Singapore Airlines released its results for the first half of its 20/21 fiscal year, when it posted a net loss of S$3.5 billion (US$2.6 billion).

Much of the loss was attributable to lower passenger revenue – which led to an operating loss of S$6.65 billion – as coronavirus pandemic Global air travel has ground to a halt. Since April, Singapore Airlines’ capacity has fallen below 10% of pre-coronavirus levels. Unlike other airlines, the national carrier does not have access to the domestic market.

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To strengthen its financial position, Singapore Airlines has added S$11.3 billion in liquidity since the start of the financial year. This included S$8.8 billion raised from shareholders through a share placement in May.

Wu said he believed the airline had “strong liquidity” to weather the crisis. “I’m sure few would disagree that liquidity is one of the most important survival factors for businesses today, especially for airlines…we believe we have the strongest liquidity of any airline One of the status, if not the strongest.”

The CEO added that the airline was looking for more sources of liquidity and that discussions about a sale-and-leaseback deal were at an advanced stage. It also seeks to tap into debt capital markets.

We believe (the bubble) will serve as a really good pilot and example of how we can open up travel for everyone in a safe way

Wu Junfeng, Chief Executive Officer

Asked how long he thought the current liquidity would last, Wu said it was difficult to make “any meaningful forecast” given multiple variables.

In terms of capacity, the airline expects to resume more routes by December at 16% of its pre-coronavirus capacity. That includes arranging flights to Hong Kong under the travel bubble, which Wu said would be finalized soon.

Goh said new Covid-19 tests and improved testing protocols would stimulate the market, but “there is a possibility of a second wave, a third wave as well”, so airlines must be “very flexible”.

“We believe that (the bubble) will serve as a very good pilot and example of how we can open up travel to everyone in a safe way,” he said, adding that more progress in the testing regime could provide “further relief”. Difficulty traveling. future.

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Hong Kong, Singapore announce quarantine-free travel bubble plans

Hong Kong, Singapore announce quarantine-free travel bubble plans

Hong Kong’s commerce minister, Edward Yau, said earlier this month that he hoped travelers between the two cities would be able to start flying without quarantine restrictions by the end of November.

He then said that with at least one flight a day between the two cities, travel agencies could start selling tickets by mid-month.

Cathay Pacific Chief executive Augustus Tang Kin-wing told lawmakers in a legislative committee on Monday that fares for its air travel bubble “will be reasonable”. The airline’s management has repeatedly declined to answer whether passengers who made speculative bookings ahead of the official bubble flight could transfer their tickets to the quarantine-free flight.
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Coronavirus: How far is Hong Kong from a fourth wave of Covid-19?

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Separately, bookings on the world’s 17th busiest international route jumped to 30% of pre-crisis levels in the week following the Oct. 15 announcement, compared with a year earlier, according to research by travel analytics firm ForwardKeys. Flight searches climbed to 50 percent of 2019 levels.

early data suggest Hongkong According to ForwardKeys, Singapore will benefit from the bubble, with demand three times higher compared to enthusiasm for visiting the city-state.

“Search volumes have increased significantly, as have ticket sales,” said Jameson Wong, Asia Pacific director at ForwardKeys.

Speculative flight bookings and efforts to secure flights as cheaply as possible before travel-bubble flights are confirmed could pose problems because the two cities have yet to announce quotas to manage the number of quarantine-exempt travelers.

Hong Kong said the quota may be limited to one flight a day.

“All of these tickets sold in the weeks following the announcement were for travel between December 18 and 25, so demand has likely outstripped supply and unrealized demand will certainly outstrip supply.” Huang said.

Additional reporting by Dewey Sim

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