Singapore: nCoV impact on aviation worse than SARS hinh anh 1There is barely a queue for taxis at Singapore's Changi Airport Terminal 3. Chinese travellers make up a third of Changi Airport's retail sales. (Photo:

Singapore (VNA) -
The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on Singapore’s aviation sector will be worse than that of the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) outbreak in 2003, according to Singaporean Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan.

This is because China is now a much larger market and a much larger source of tourism for Singapore and the region, he said.

Khaw said China travellers accounted for 5 percent of Changi Airport's travelling traffic during the SARS crisis.

Now, they make up 11 percent. But the purchasing power has increased even more. They account for one-third of retail sales in Changi, and the one-third has evaporated, he added.

Of particular concern is the retail sector at Changi Airport, with about 7,000 to 8,000 staff employed there. Many families would be affected if companies start retrenching their staff, he noted.

The minister said local airlines like Singapore Airlines, Scoot and SilkAir are also suffering, along with retail shops.

The traffic between China and Singapore has come down significantly because flights have shrunk 70 percent to 80 percent, and traffic volume has come down by 60 percent to 70 percent.

With this in mind, the Government is working on a budget that will help support the sector, Khaw said./.