SINGAPORE (March 26): Singapore Airlines will undertake a “corporate action” to weather through the turbulent aviation sector, which has been severely hit by the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, according to Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat.

The “corporate action”, which Heng says is backed by Temasek, will be announced later today. Temasek owns a 77.7% stake in SIA.

“I welcome Temasek’s decision to lend support to SIA,” Heng, who is also Finance Minister, said in his Supplementary Budget speech in Parliament this afternoon.

Further to that, Heng says the government will also implement industry wide measures that will help alleviate SIA’s operational expenditure.

For one, the Enhanced Jobs Support Scheme will provide a 75% wage offset, though limited at a monthly wage cap of $4,600.

Secondly, the $350 million Enhanced Aviation Support Package will provide rebates on landing charges, rental for airlines’ lounges and offices within Changi Airport, parking charges and others.

SIA suspended trading of its shares this morning. The stock is down 28% so far this year to its last traded price of $6.50.

In comparison, shares of SIA Engineering closed up 22 cents or 14% at $1.89.

Heng says SIA is a “strategic asset” and a vital cog to Singapore as an aviation hub.

The government, he notes, will do all it can to help SIA and preserve the country’s status as an aviation hub.