SIA Group has reported a net loss of S$212 million for the 12 months ending March 31, a reversal from the S$683 million profit in the previous year.

The group said it lost S$732 million in January to March this year, down from the S$203 million net profit it made in the same period last year.

Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced its first round of flight cuts in late March when the airline said it would cut 96 per cent of its scheduled flights in response to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. The carrier then extended its flight cancellations until the end of June.

Singapore Airlines cancels most flights until end of June

SIA said that it had entered the fourth quarter on the “back of a strong performance” in its first nine months after “robust passenger traffic” and “extensive initiatives” undertaken as part of its transformation programme, but fears about the spread of Covid-19 and border control measures in February this year led to a collapse in travel demand.

The steep drop in passenger traffic in the fourth quarter resulted in a S$894 million plunge in revenue, a decline of 22 per cent from the same period last year. This led to the Group cutting 96 per cent of its flying capacity from April to June 2020.

“The prospects for a recovery in international air travel in the months ahead depend upon when border controls and travel restrictions ease,” said SIA in a statement.

SIA also said “there is no visibility on the timing or trajectory of the recovery” but “there are a few signs of an abatement” in the coronavirus crisis.

“The group will maintain a minimum flight connectivity within its network during this period, while ensuring the flexibility to scale up capacity if there is an uptick in demand,” SIA added.

SIA has set up an internal task force to ensure that is is “ready to ramp up services when air travel recovers”.

The group noted that it is “exploring other sources of funding, including financing and sale-and-leaseback transactions” to help boost liquidity.

While passenger demand is at an all-time low, the group said air-freight demand is strong which will “sustain cargo revenues for the near term”.

SIA is also planning on pursuing charter opportunities.