Singapore Airlines cuts capacity by 10%, freezes hiring as virus takes toll

Singapore Airlines temporarily suspended more than 3,000 flights from February to end-May, accounting for 9.9 percent of the group’s scheduled capacity. (AFP)
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Updated 25 February 2020

Singapore Airlines cuts capacity by 10%, freezes hiring as virus takes toll

  • The carrier has temporarily suspended more than 3,000 flights from February to end-May
  • Travel demand has been hit due to the virus and also as governments imposed curbs on movement to contain the epidemic

SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines has cut nearly 10 percent of its capacity, frozen recruitment for ground positions and deferred spending as it deals with lower demand due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters.
The carrier has temporarily suspended more than 3,000 flights from February to end-May, accounting for 9.9 percent of the group’s scheduled capacity, said the memo sent to staff.
“We will continue to be nimble and flexible in adjusting our capacity to match the changing demand patterns in the market,” Chief Executive Goh Choon Phong said in the memo, first reported by the Straits Times newspaper.
“We have also proactively reached out to our suppliers and partners to discuss additional mitigating measures during this difficult time,” he said.
The coronavirus, which originated in China last year, can be transmitted from person to person and has killed more than 2,500 people and infected over 80,000 people, mostly on the mainland.
Travel demand has been hit due to the virus and also as governments imposed curbs on movement to contain the epidemic, forcing airlines to cancel thousands of flights.
Singapore Airlines, earlier this month, said it would cut capacity across its network in the three months to May including destinations like Frankfurt, Jakarta, London, Los Angeles, Mumbai, Paris, Seoul, Sydney and Tokyo.
It did not provide details on what percentage of capacity would be cut at the time.
On Tuesday, Singapore Airlines said its CEO had sent a memo to staff, without detailing the contents.
It said it was closely monitoring the situation and would take any additional measures needed, but would not do anything to harm its long-term competitiveness.
Hong Kong-based rival Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. has cut 40 percent of capacity across its network due to the fall in demand associated with the epidemic and asked all its employees to take three weeks of unpaid leave.


Investors, scientists urge IEA to take bolder climate stance

Updated 30 May 2020

Investors, scientists urge IEA to take bolder climate stance

  • The energy agency’s head is under pressure to align its policies with the 2015 Paris accord goals

LONDON: Fatih Birol, the head of the International Energy Agency (IEA), faced renewed calls to take a bolder stance on climate change on Friday from investors concerned the organization’s reports enable damaging levels of investment in fossil fuels.

In an open letter, investor groups said an IEA report on options for green economic recoveries from the coronavirus pandemic, due out in June, should be aligned with the 2015 Paris accord goal of capping the rise in global temperatures at 1.5C.

The more than 60 signatories included the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, whose members have €30 trillion ($33.42 trillion) of assets under management, scientists and advocacy group Oil Change International.

“Bold, not incremental, action is required,” the letter said.

The Paris-based IEA said it appreciated feedback and would bear the letter’s suggestions in mind. It also said it had been recognized for leading calls on governments to put clean energy at the heart of their economic stimulus packages.

“We have backed up that call with a wide range of analysis, policy recommendations and high-level events with government ministers, CEOs, leading investors and thought leaders,” the IEA said.

Birol has faced mounting pressure in the past year from critics who say oil, gas and coal companies use the IEA’s flagship World Energy Outlook (WEO) annual report to justify further investment — undermining the Paris goals.

Birol has dismissed the criticism, saying the WEO helps governments understand the potential climate implications of their energy policies, and downplaying its influence on investment decisions.

FASTFACT

1.5°C

The 2015 Paris accord aims to cap the rise in global temperatures at 1.5C.

But campaigners want Birol to overhaul the WEO to chart a more reliable 1.5C path. The world is on track for more than double that level of heating, which would render the planet increasingly uninhabitable, scientists say.

The joint letter followed similar demands last year, and was published by Mission 2020, an initiative backed by former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres.