SINGAPORE (Mar 17): Singapore Airlines (SIA) is now operating at half of its original capacity, as countries around the world close borders in a bid to protect themselves against the escalating Covid-19 pandemic. 

The latest capacity cuts come as countries such as Malaysia, Canada and the European Union announced that they were sealing off their borders or imposing travel restrictions. 

“Today’s suspensions mean that SIA will operate only 50% of the capacity that had been originally scheduled up to end-April,” says the group. 

SIA is also suspending additional services across its network amid an “unprecedented time” in the airline industry. 

The group warned that this will not be the final cut it will be making in order to deal with the worsening situation.  

“Given the growing scale of the border controls globally and its deepening impact on air travel, SIA expects to make further cuts to its capacity,” cautions SIA. 

The group is reportedly taking active steps to build up its liquidity, and will consult the unions once again as it “urgently takes steps to further cut costs.”

“Additional measures will be announced when they have been firmed up,” says SIA. 

According to SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong, the group is in for a prolonged period of difficulty. 

“We have lost a large amount of our traffic in a very short time, and it will not be viable for us to maintain our current network,” says Goh. 

“Make no mistake – we expect the pace of this deterioration to accelerate,” he adds. 

Shares in Singapore Airlines closed 12 cents lower, or 1.78% down at $6.62 on Tuesday prior to the announcement. The group’s share price has slumped some 25% since the beginning of the outbreak.