Singapore

SIA Group, Jetstar to start flying to more destinations

The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group and budget carrier Jetstar Asia will be flying to more destinations and at a slightly increased frequency as the gradual recovery of the carriers continues.

Scoot, the budget arm of SIA Group, said yesterday that it will restart flights to Tokyo, Osaka, Palembang, Pekanbaru and Yogyakarta this month, adding on to the 13 locations it was flying to in August.

Meanwhile, SIA said last week that it will begin adding more flights to cities such as Jakarta, London and Sydney in the next three months.

It will also restart flights to Surabaya in Indonesia this month.

With the gradual increase in flights, the SIA Group's passenger capacity will reach about 11 per cent of the levels before the Covid-19 pandemic by end-November.

In comparison, it had operated at 7 per cent of its pre-Covid-19 capacity last month.

Budget carrier Jetstar Asia also said on Monday that it will restart flights to Phnom Penh in Cambodia from Sept 18.

BLEAK

Aviation analyst Shukor Yusof from Endau Analytics said that despite the increased flights, the outlook for airlines remained bleak and they would have to endure the situation for a while more.

"While it won't help the bottom line, any incremental rise, however small, represents a psychological uplift for staff and passengers," he added.

The International Air Transport Association has said that demand for air travel is unlikely to return to the levels before the pandemic until 2024.

In the meantime, beyond increasing flights, the local carriers have also announced new initiatives to retain customers.

SIA said yesterday it would tweak its loyalty schemes to allow passengers to more easily retain their loyalty status.

Jetstar Asia said on Monday it will launch a programme to offer passengers additional assurances about their safety while flying.

These include measures such as giving each passenger a sanitising wipe, sequenced boarding and cleaning of planes during flights. - TOH TING WEI

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