Bangkok, Oct 5 (efe-epa).- The group that manages Singapore’s Changi Airport, one of the busiest in Asia, saw its profits slump by 36 percent in the financial year 2019-2020 due to travel restrictions in the wake of Covid-19 crisis, according to its annual accounts report.
In the financial year that ended in March, the Changi Airport Group, which also owns 51 percent stake at Rio de Janeiro’s Tom Jobim International Airport, made a profit of S$435 million (about $319 million).
The Changi Airport Group’s Chairman Liew Mun Leong and CEO Lee Seow Hiang said in the report that the aviation industry was “promising” in the long run, but warned of difficulties in the short and medium term due to the pandemic.
“The future does appear daunting with the situation showing no signs of abatement,” they said in a joint statement, adding that they could only see a way out of the crisis when an effective remedy against the novel coronavirus is found.
Passenger traffic at Singapore airport fell by 32 percent in February and 70 percent in March, bringing the total volume for the fiscal year down by 5.1 percent to 62.9 million travelers, the first drop since the 2008 financial crisis.
Among the measures taken during the pandemic, the group suspended operations at two terminals at the airport as well as the construction of Terminal 5 for at least two years.
Moreover, it made wage cuts of up to 30 percent for its staff and recommended not paying dividends this year.
The group also said that Tom Jobim’s financial problems caused its revenue from the Brazilian airport to fall by more than 11 percent to S$299 million ($219 million).
Singapore was one of the first countries to close its borders to control the pandemic, which has caused a total 57,800 confirmed infections and 27 deaths.
However, it has begun to resume limited operations for passengers travelling from Australia, Brunei, several provinces of China, Japan, Malaysia, South Korea and Vietnam.
The tiny but prosperous nation of 5.6 million inhabitants was one of the first countries outside China, where the pandemic originated, to detect Covid-19 cases.
The government imposed strict containment measures, which earned it the praise of the World Health Organization and allowed it to contain the spread of the virus among the local population.
However, Singapore experienced a second wave of infections largely driven by an outbreak among migrant workers living in cramped dormitories on the outskirts of the city.
The epidemic has, however, dealt a severe blow to the country’s economy, which will suffer its worst-ever recession this year, with a contraction of between 4 and 7 percent of its gross domestic product, the government said in May. EFE-EPA