Singapore Airlines has reported that it saw passenger numbers continue to soar in 2023 as the carrier continued in an upward trajectory following the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Singapore Airlines group of companies (which includes the island nation’s flag carrier Singapore Airlines plus its budget subsidiary Scoot) saw an impressive increase of 15.9% in passengers carried during December in 2023, versus the numbers flown during the same month in 2022.
The two airlines carried 3.3 million passengers in December 2023 – a figure that represents an increase of a whopping 24.4% over December 2022.
In addition to the number of passengers carried by the group of airlines, Revenue Passenger Kilometers (RPKs) were also on the rise. RPKs represent the key metric used by the aviation industry to measure the volume of passengers carried by an airline. This figure increased by 15% in relation to Singapore Airlines to reach 10.1 billion.
However, Scoot surpassed the strong performance put in by its sister carrier, recording an even more impressive RPK growth of 18.5% to 3 billion. This figure is being taken by analysts as a clear sign of the strength of the budget sector and how well it has rebounded following the lifting of travel restrictions following the pandemic.
The only blip on an otherwise highly impressive set of figures is that the group saw a slight drop in its network passenger load factor (PLF) for the month of December. The PLF is a key indicator of an airline’s efficiency in filling seats and generating passenger revenue.
The PLF slipped slightly by 0.3 percentage points to 89.4%. This drop is being put down to a higher increase in passenger capacity by 16.1% as more aircraft returned to the operational fleet and as frequencies increased on key routes such as Singapore (SIN) to London-Heathrow (LHR) and Sydney (SYD).
Singapore Airlines’ PLF for December 2023 stood at 88.7%, a marginal decrease from 89.1% recorded in the same month the previous year. On the more positive side, Scoot’s PLF displayed a slight increase, rising to 91.7% from 91.6%.
On the cargo front, the Singapore Airlines Group reported a year-on-year growth of 4.3% driven by escalating demand for e-commerce. However, the cargo load factor experienced a slight decline, falling by 1.7 percentage points to 52.6% as more belly hold capacity became available with the resumption of passenger services.
The group also expanded its route network throughout 2023, extending its footprint to 121 destinations across 35 countries and territories. This included the resumption of services to several points in China.
By the end of December 2023, SIA was serving 76 destinations, while Scoot was operating in 67 destinations. The group’s cargo network covered an impressive 126 destinations in 37 countries and territories.
The Singapore Airlines fleet currently consists of 162 aircraft which continues to feature 14 Airbus A380 superjumbos and 14 dedicated freighters operated by the carrier’s cargo division. Meanwhile, Scoot operates 56 active aircraft with a further 30 on order.