Singapore Airlines CEO: Too soon to call revival in demand


Singapore Airlines Ltd., the world’s biggest carrier by market value, said it was too soon to say whether a rebound in air travel last month marked the beginnings of a long-term revival in demand.

“There is not enough evidence yet to conclude that we are back on a firm trail to recovery,” Chief Executive Officer Chew Choon Seng said yesterday at a Star Alliance press conference in New York. Whether the current uptrend persists “remains to be seen.”

Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Tony Tyler has also said that he is “cautious” about the prospects for airlines, as the global recession continues to damp demand. Singapore Airlines last month filled 80.9 percent of its total available seats, the highest tally this year.

“The bottom has been reached,” Chew said. “Demand has stabilized and even started to grow from September.”

It will only be possible to say whether this is a sustained recovery after as long as nine months, he added.

Singapore Airlines and Cathay have both cut flying and grounded planes as the worst recession in six decades threatens to push the industry to an $11 billion loss this year. Singapore Airlines has said it may post its first annual loss since going public in 1985 because of the demand slump.