COVID-19 outbreak makes Singapore Airlines cut 96 percent of capacity hinh anh 1A plane of Singapore Airlines (Photo: thejakartapost)

Singapore (VNA)Singapore Airlines (SIA) will cut 96 percent of its scheduled capacity until the end of April as border controls around the world are tightened over the past days to curb the COVID-19 outbreak.

This decision will result in the grounding of around 140 out of the total fleet of 147 aircraft of SIA and its subsidiary SilkAir, amid the greatest challenge the group has faced in its existence, the carrier said in a statement on March 23.

This move comes after Singapore closes its borders in an effort to prevent the spreading of the pandemic.

SIA said that it is actively taking steps to build up its liquidity and to reduce capital expenditure and operating costs. The salaries of the group’s management have also been cut, with the company's directors also agreeing to a cut in their pays.

The airline's cash balance of 1.57 billion SGD (1.08 billion USD) by the end of December 2019 was nearly 19 percent higher than a year earlier. The airline will focus on protecting jobs, Chief Executive Goh Choon Phong said. The group had more than 26,500 employees in the financial year that ended in March 2019.

The company has engaged the unions in talks on further cost-cutting measures.

Until this crisis hit, SIA was the 15th largest airline group in the world, serving around 140 destinations in more than 35 countries and territories./.