SIA posts S$168m first half profit

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Singapore Airlines (SIA) has posted a group net profit of S$168 million ($137 million) for the six months to 30 September, a decline of S$71 million on the same period last year.

Group revenue rose by 4% to S$7.6 billion while costs increased by 4% to S$7.4 billion, says the Star Alliance carrier.

Operating profit for the group increased by 6% to S$142 million, largely driven by a S$61 million increase during the first quarter.

During the second quarter, SIA posted a group net profit of S$90 million, which was 54% lower than the same time in 2011 as revenue increased by S$94 million to S$3.8 billion.

The airline posted an operating profit of S$169 million for the six-month period, an increase of S$53 million, as revenue increased by 5% to S$6.2 billion and expenses increased by 4% to S$6bn.

Freight division SIA Cargo reported an operating loss of S$99 million, widening its S$31 million loss from the same period last year. Maintenance, repair and overhaul subsidiary SIA Engineering recorded an operating profit of S$66 million, a decrease of 4%.

SilkAir, SIA's regional arm, recorded a S$37 million profit, up S$3 million.

SIA recorded an 8% increase in passenger traffic as it hiked capacity by 5.1%, resulting in load factor improving by 2.1 percentage points to 79.6%.

During the half-year the airline took delivery of two Airbus A380s, reinstated two Boeing 777-200ERs that had been leased to another carrier, and disposed of two 777-200ERs and one 777-300, leaving it with an operating fleet of 101 passenger aircraft.

The company notes in its outlook that the European economic crisis is continuing to put downward pressure on yields and loads, while jet fuel prices remain volatile.

"Despite the challenging environment, the group's strong balance sheet has enabled continued investment in new aircraft and in the upgrading of products and services," it adds.