Singapore Airlines Group posted 73% growth in its net profit for the first quarter of FY2012/13.
The group recorded net profit of Singapore dollars (S$) 78 million ($62 million) in the three months to 30 June, up from S$45 million a year before.
Group revenue rose by 6% to S$3.8 billion, bolstered by a 9.6% improvement in passenger numbers and driven by increased promotions that were undertaken amid intense competition and weak business sentiment.
Expenditure thus climbed 4% to S$3.7 billion, also because of increased fuel costs resulting from a 4.3% capacity growth.
The flagship airline swung to an operating profit of S$85 million, from a loss of S$36 million a year ago. However, SIA Engineering's operating profit dipped by 2.9% to S$34 million while regional carrier Silkair's operating profit declined by 14.3% to S$18 million. Meanwhile, SIA Cargo's net loss widened from S$14 million last year to S$49 million this year.
RPKs at SIA grew by 9.6% year on year, outpacing capacity, as measured by ASKs, which grew by 4.3%. Its load factor also climbed 3.9 percentage points to 79.5%. The passenger breakeven load factor rose by 2.7 percentage points to 80.7%.
Between April and June, SIA took delivery of one Airbus A380-800.
SIA Cargo, meanwhile, recorded a 5.6% drop in load tonne kilometres despite reductions in capacity, bringing its load factor down 1.9 percentage points to 62.8%.
Looking ahead, the group expects the global economy to remain uncertain as Europe struggles to contain its debt crisis and as the US faces a sluggish recovery. Fuel, meanwhile, continues to account for about 40% of its total expenditure, despite prices receding in recent weeks.
"In this difficult environment, the group will maintain its vigilance in cost control and remain nimble in deploying capacity to meet market demand. The group is well positioned to weather the challenges with its strong balance sheet," SIA says.