Commentary: China re-opening boost for Changi Airport but full recovery still a way to go
The SIA Group has announced several additional China flights will recommence in April, May and June, and is now working to secure Chinese approvals for even more flights. For example, SIA Group has not currently scheduled any flights to Chongqing, Shenzhen, Wuhan and Xiamen beyond the end of this month, but is trying to secure approvals to maintain and expand these routes.
Chinese carriers have not yet scheduled additional flights beyond April, when their Singapore capacity will reach about 50 per cent of 2019 levels, but is also working with Chinese authorities to secure approval for more flights.
If there are no regulatory hurdles, both Chinese carriers and SIA Group should be at 80 per cent to 90 percent of 2019 levels by the end of August, resulting in a Singapore-China recovery rate that is roughly on par with Changi Airport’s overall recovery rate.
In March, scheduled seat capacity for Singapore excluding China and Hong Kong is already at 85 per cent of that in the same period in 2019, based on OAG data.
Although Hong Kong reopened a few months earlier than China, the Singapore-Hong Kong market has recovered slowly with scheduled seat capacity only 47 per cent of 2019 levels in March. More Hong Kong flights – as of yet unscheduled – over the next few months could potentially boost Singapore-Hong Kong recovery levels to 80 percent as well.
Hong Kong and China are both key markets for Singapore, accounting for about 5 per cent and 11 per cent respectively of Changi’s total pre-pandemic traffic.