Singapore Airlines January demand slipped as Omicron variant stalled VTL ticket sales

A Singapore Airlines Scoot plane on the tarmac at Changi Airport in October 2018.A Singapore Airlines' Scoot plane at Changi Airport

Singapore Airlines reported Tuesday that January saw some moderation in passenger demand compared with December as the Singapore government temporarily suspended new ticket sales for the Vaccinated Travel Lane (VTL).

VTL ticket sales were suspended for flights from 22 December through 20 January due to the emergence of the Omicron variant, but sales continued for 21 January and later dates, although the arrival quota was cut by 50 percent, the carrier noted in a filing to SGX.

The ticket sales suspension contributed to passenger traffic as measured by revenue-passenger kilometers, falling 11.7 percent in January from December, SIA said.

However, group passenger capacity, as measured in available seat-kilometers, grew 2.8 percent in January compared with December, reaching 46 percent of January 2020, pre-Covid, levels, SIA said.

On an on-year basis, SIA reported its passengers carried on the group airlines jumped 583 percent on-year to 535,000, compared with only 78,400 in January 2021.

At the end of January, SIA said its passenger network covered 86 destinations, including Singapore, rising by one from the end of December, as low-cost carrier Scoot resumed flights to Amritsar.

Read Singapore Airlines’ filing to SGX.