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Tue, Feb 17, 2009 - Page 10 News List

Singapore Airlines to cut capacity, ground planes

AP , SINGAPORE

A flight crew prepares for the arrival of the first commercial Airbus A380 flight to Europe from Singapore at London’s Heathrow Airport last March. Singapore Airlines said yesterday it would cut 17 percent of its operating fleet and is exploring other cost-saving measures.

PHOTO: AFP

Singapore Airlines Ltd said it plans to reduce flights and ground more than a dozen planes as people travel less amid the global economic slowdown.

The carrier said it will reduce capacity by 11 percent between April and March next year from the previous twelve months and decommission 17 aircraft after air cargo shipments fell 20 percent recently.

“The drop in air transportation has been sharp and swift,” the company said in a statement yesterday. “We have to face the reality that 2009 is going to be a very difficult year.”

Singapore Airlines said last month that it planned to cut flights to the US, Europe and Asia as demand dried up. The airline said last week its October-December profit fell 43 percent as it flew 4.2 percent fewer passengers.

The airline said it met with worker unions yesterday to discuss voluntary leave without pay, voluntary early retirement and shorter work months. Managers will cut their salaries first if necessary, the carrier said.

“We will contemplate retrenchment only as a last resort, but we do not have the luxury of time,” the company said. “We need to agree and act on some measures quickly so that we can push back the point of retrenchment as far as possible.”

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