Singapore Airlines Group expects to operate at 37% pre-pandemic capacity by the end of the year, amid an increase in passenger traffic following Singapore’s border reopening to fully-vaccinated travellers.

This is up from current passenger capacity, which is at 32% pre-pandemic levels, says the group.

Singapore Airlines SIA Airbus A350-900

Source: Max Kingsley-Jones/FlightGlobal

A Singapore Airlines A350-900.

In traffic results released for September, SIA Group reported “an uptick in demand” — particularly to Germany — as the first Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL) between the city-state and Germany kicked off.

The group — comprising mainline carrier SIA and low-cost unit Scoot — carried close to 160,000 passengers during the month, more than thrice the number flown in September 2020.

Against 2020’s low base, capacity and traffic for the month notched significant increases, with passenger load factor rising 1.3 percentage points to 18.5%.

It expects passenger traffic to continue to pick up through the end of the year, following Singapore’s decision to extend the VTL travel arrangement to nine more countries, including South Korea, the USA and UK.

“This further supports the safe and gradual recovery in international air travel to and through Singapore,” the group states.

SIA will reintroduce its Airbus A380s — currently parked in storage amid the pandemic — on the Singapore-London route amid strong demand. 

Under the VTL scheme, fully-vaccinated travellers can enter Singapore without the need for quarantine. However, they have to take pre-departure and post-arrival coronavirus tests, as well as travel on designated flights into Singapore.

As for cargo, SIA Group reported a 57% year-on-year increase in capacity, outpacing a 54% jump in freight-tonne kilometres. Overall cargo load factor dipped 1.6 percentage points.