Home' Asian Aviation : AAV Dec Jan2011 2012. Contents 8 AsianAviation | DECEMBER 2011 / JANUARY 2012
Singapore Airlines (SIA) says profit for the six
months ended 30 September plunged 62 percent
compared with the same period a year earlier, to
S$239 million (US$81.96 million).
The airline attributed the drop in its result for
the first half of the business year to high fuel
costs, with jet-fuel prices surging 45 percent.
Revenue increased 3 percent to S$7.28 billion,
bolstered by higher passenger numbers -- up 3.8
per cent at 8.46 million -- and flat yields, despite
increased competition and a weak business
climate. Overall expenditure increased 10 percent
to S$7.14 billion.
The airline added capacity on its Hong Kong,
Guangzhou, Taipei, Mumbai and Jakarta routes,
while scaling back its non-stop Airbus A340-500
service to Los Angeles.
SIA says prevailing economic uncertainty and
weak consumer confidence are impacting demand
for the immediate future. Advance passenger
bookings are showing signs of weakness,
particularly on European and US services.
The airline notes that global purchasing manager
indices have also fallen, pointing to weaker air-
freight demand. Passenger and cargo yields are
therefore both expected to remain under pressure.
"Exacerbating the impact of the weak outlook is
the high cost of fuel, which is compounded by the
recent strength in the US dollar. Forward prices for
jet fuel remain high and volatile," SIA says.
During the six month period, SIA took
delivery of three Airbus 380-800s jetliners and
decommissioned four ageing Boeing 747-400s,
three of which have been sold while efforts
to sell the fourth continue. One 777-300 was
returned to when its lease expired.
As of 30 September, SIA's fleet comprises
106 aircraft -- 14 A380-800s, three 747-400s,
65 777s, five A340-500s and 19 A330-300s. --
Foreign arrivals at Bangkok's main
Suvarnabhumi Airport dropped 23.07 percent
during the August-October period, due to
passenger concerns about worsening floods,
which affected 61 of Thailand's 77 provinces.
According to Airports of Thailand (AOT)
President Aninut Thanomkulbutra, passenger
arrivals dropped by an average 30,000 a day to
Tourists either postponed their trips to the
country or opted for another destination in the
region. The decline had a drastic effect on the
country's manufacturing and tourism industries,
both of which are still calculating their losses.
Publicly-listed AOT expects a 20-25 percent
drop in income from aeronautical fees and
passenger service charges for the period.
The flooding, which started on 15 July
because of heavy rainfall over more than
three months, was the worst Thailand had
experienced in 50 years.
Don Muang airport, Bangkok's older,
mainly-domestic facility, has also been severely
affected. At the height of the floods, the
airport was ordered to cease operations by the
Department of Civil Aviation.
Low-cost carrier Nok Air and Orient Thai
Airlines have since transferred operations to
Don Muang is also a Royal Thai Air Force base
and a maintenance centre for national flag carrier
Thai Airways International. Aninut says the older
airport remains flooded, under 90cm of water.
"Repairs to the passenger terminal and
runway can only commence after water
recedes," Aninut says.
AOT expects runway reconstruction and
lighting repairs to cost about 934 million baht
(US$29.55 million). Damage to the terminal
building will be assessed once the water recedes.
Aninut says he expects repairs to take at
least two months. The country's economy is
expected to shrink 1 percent for the full year
2011. -- William Dennis
SIA first-half profit
soaring fuel costs
Thai floods severely hurt Bangkok airports
NEWS IN BRIEF
TIBET AIRLINES plans to expand its
fleet of three Airbus 319 jetliners
to ten aircraft by 2015. The carrier
started operations on 26 July with
Lhasa-Lanzhou services. With a
network of nine destinations in China,
the airline eventually aims to operate
to all five airports in Tibet -- Lhasa
Gonggar, Qamdo Bamda, Nyingchi
Mainling, Xigaze and Ngari Gunsa.
China is investing US$283 million to
build Tibet's sixth airport in Nagqu
prefecture. Construction started in July
and completion is slated for late 2014.
The new facility will be the highest in
the world at 4,436m altitude, 102m
higher than Qamdo, which was built
in 1994. Qamdo has the world's
longest runway, 5,450m long, used by
commercial aircraft required because
of the low air density at altitude,
which means aircraft need more
distance to take off and land.
VIRGIN ATLANTIC Airways has signed
agreements with Northwest Aerospace
Technologies (NAT) and Hong
Kong Aircraft Engineering (HAECO)
covering cabin-reconfiguration for
the airline's Gatwick based fleet
of Boeing 747-400 aircraft. The
modifications will reconfigure
Virgin's 747-400 fleet with new and
upgraded passenger seating, a new
in-flight entertainment system with
connectivity, new interior monuments,
furnishings and enhanced decor.
NAT is the engineering integrator,
providing programme and supplier
interface management, modification
engineering and parts kits, on-site
installation support and EASA STC
certification. The work undertaken
by HAECO will include aircraft
modification project management,
materials management, on-site
coordination with cabin and in-
flight entertainment vendors, cabin
reconfiguration and associated
SIA operates a fleet of 65 Boeing 777s.
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