SINGAPORE (May 17): Singapore Airlines (SIA) reversed out of the red with earnings of $181.8 million for the 4Q ended March, from losses of $138.3 million a year ago.

This brings full-year earnings to $892.9 million for FY17/18, more than double from earnings of $360.4 million a year ago.

The consensus estimates was for SIA to report $717.5 million in earnings, according to Bloomberg.

The higher full-year earnings were mainly attributable to a 69.7% surge operating profit to $1.06 billion, as well as the absence of SIA Cargo’s provision for competition-related matters and impairment of the Tigerair brand and trademarks last year.

4Q17/18 revenue rose 8.2% to $4.02 billion, from $3.71 billion a year ago, on the back of stronger passenger and cargo flown revenue, partially offset by higher expenditure.

SIA’s parent airline company turned around from a loss of $41 million last year to register an operating profit of $137 million in 4Q17/18. This was led by a $221 million increase of revenue, driven by 1.4% growth in traffic and a 1.0% increase in passenger yield.

Scoot’s operating profit for the quarter rose 32% to $29 million, led by higher passenger flown revenue from a 16.7% growth in passenger carriage even as yield dipped 1.6% y-o-y.

SIA Cargo reported an operating profit of $28 million during the quarter, reversing out of a loss of $5 million last year. Revenue rose $55 million as freight carriage grew 4.6% and cargo yield improved 8.5%.

These were partially offset by an 89% plunge in SilkAir’s operating profit to $3 million in 4Q17/18, as major operating costs such as fuel, handling, and landing and parking costs rose faster than revenue gains. Passenger traffic improved 12.8% on the back of an 11.9% expansion in capacity, but yield contracted 11.4%.

See: SilkAir to undergo $100 mil cabin upgrades; to be merged into SIA

Meanwhile, operating profit for SIA Engineering fell 17% to $20 million on lower airframe and component overhaul activities and fleet management activities.

As at end March, cash and cash equivalents stood at $2.57 billion.

SIA has declared a final dividend of 30 cents per share for the period, nearly trebling from the final dividend of 11 cents per share a year ago.

Including an interim dividend of 10 cents per share paid earlier, this brings total dividend for FY17/18 to 40 cents per share – double of the total dividend of 20 cents per share a year ago.

Looking ahead, SIA says intense competition in key operating markets and cost pressures remain, despite stronger advance passenger bookings for the coming months and a continued stabilisation in yields.

Over the next two years, SIA says it will continue on its transformation programme to further build on initiatives around enhancements to the customer experience, revenue growth, and improvements in operational efficiency.

Shares of SIA closed 14 cents higher, or up 1.3%, at $11.14 on Thursday.