(Reuters) -Singapore Airlines on Tuesday posted a record half-year profit reflecting strong travel demand as passenger traffic to the northern part of Asia rebounded after countries fully reopened post the Covid pandemic.
The city-state’s national carrier said net profit rose to S$1.44 billion ($1.06 billion) for the six months ended Sept. 30 from S$926.9 million reported a year ago.
It declared an interim dividend of 10 Singapore cents per share.
“The robust demand for air travel continued into the Northern Summer travel season, led by the rebound in passenger traffic to North Asia with the full reopening of China, Hong Kong SAR, Japan, and Taiwan,” the airline said in a statement.
It also recorded a S$413 million decrease in costs associated with fuel for the six-month period but flagged concerns around a spike in prices due to supply risks in the oil market.
Singapore Airlines (OTC:) and its budget arm, Scoot, carried around 17.4 million passengers during the half-year, an increase of 52.3% year-on-year.
The group expects to return to pre-Covid passenger capacity levels within fiscal 2024-2025, it added.
The firm also intends to redeem 50% of the zero-coupon mandatory convertible bonds (MCBs) that it issued in June 2021 to support its balance sheet amid an almost total shutdown of air travel during the pandemic.
The latest redemption, to be paid to eligible bondholders on Dec.26 on a pro-rata basis, will see Singapore Airlines meet the accreted principal amount payable of 110.408% of the MCBs’ principal amount or around S$1.71 billion.
The airline also said the proposed merger between Air India and its joint venture with India’s Tata Group, Vistara, was on course and remained subject to approvals from regulators and authorities in both countries.
($1 = 1.3543 Singapore dollars)
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