SIA back in black after Sars

SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) said on Wednesday that it had returned to profit in the September quarter after Sars forced it into its first-ever loss in the previous three months.

SIA reported a a net profit of S$306 million (US$175 million) for its second quarter, up S$11 million from the same period last year.

For the first half, SIA recored a loss of S$6.5 million, compared with a profit in the first six months of last year of S$773.5 million.

SIA posted a loss of S$312.3 million in the three months to June with the blame placed on the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (Sars) epidemic that brought regional travel to a near standstill.

`As Sars receded in the region, demand responded well to sales promotions,` SIA said in a statement.

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`The flights that were suspended because of Sars were restored progressively and capacity returned to around 90 per cent of pre-Sars levels by the end of September.

`In addition a new thrice-weekly direct service to Bangalore was launched on Aug 28.`

With the festive season approaching, SIA gave a positive short-term outlook.

`Barring any unfavourable events, passenger demand is expected to remain bouyant in the next two quarters, especially during the traditional year-end travel peak.`
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