The Singapore Airlines Group has reported a net loss of $1 billion for the first quarter of 2020 after a 99.5 per cent plunge in passenger traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Group is comprised of the following three airlines: Singapore Airlines (SIA), low-cost carrier Scoot, and Silkair.

Demand for air travel began to decline as travel restrictions and border controls were imposed to contain the spread of Covid-19 starting from the beginning of the first quarter of 2020.

As a result, passenger traffic for Singapore Airlines fell by 99.4 per cent year-on-year, 99.8 per cent for Silkair, and 99.9 per cent for Scoot, resulting in 99.5 per cent drop for the SIA Group.

Revenue for the airlines fell by 79.3 per cent to $851 million year on year, while expenditure dropped 51.6 per cent to $1.89 billion.

The SIA Group is currently operating 32 aircraft on passenger services out of a fleet of 220 aircraft, including seven freighters which are operational. A total of 119 aircraft have been parked at Singapore Changi Airport, and 29 planes have been stored in Alice Springs, says the group.

SIA notes that the “recovery trajectory in international air travel is slower than initially expected”, citing industry experts like International Air Transport Association and the International Civil Aviation Organisation that have recently forecasted a slower recovery for the aviation industry.

“Our current view for planning purposes is that by the end of FY20/21, the Group’s passenger capacity may reach less than half of its pre-Covid-19 levels. The Group continues to pursue cost management measures and will also explore additional means to shore up liquidity as necessary,” reads a statement from the SIA Group.

The group says its passenger capacity by the end of Q2 FY20/21 is projected to be about 7 per cent compared to pre-Covid-19 levels.

“We are reviewing the potential shape and size of our network over the longer term, given Covid-19 and its impact on our passenger traffic and revenue, which will provide clarity on fleet size and mix that the Group will need,” said the SIA Group.