The Straits Times/Asia News Network
Singapore Airlines to launch blockchain-based digital wallet in the near future. (Shutterstock/Vytautas Kielaitis)
The vast majority of Singapore Airlines (SIA) planes will stay grounded in May as it extends cancellation of its flights - slashed by about 96 per cent - in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
This marks a one-month extension to the wide-ranging flight cuts that were announced in late March, amid a plunge in demand for air travel and sweeping border closures to international flights.
SIA said on Monday that it will continue to fly to just 15 cities, such as Bangkok, Los Angeles and Frankfurt.
It also slightly increased the frequency of flights on a few routes.
Most notably, there will be 11 more flights next month to Bangkok. There were only three flights to the Thai city in April due to an ongoing ban against international passenger flights from landing there. The ban is expected to last till the end of the month.
SIA and its regional arm SilkAir said they will continue to adjust services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Customers whose flights were cancelled by the airlines will retain the full value of the unused portion of their tickets as flight credits. They will also be awarded bonus flight credits when rebooking their trips.
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.
Meanwhile, another Singapore airline Jetstar Asia said on Monday it will temporarily resume flights to Manila, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur on Tuesday.
It had earlier this month said it will ground all of its flights till May 19.
Resuming these flights will help create essential travel links and assist with freight in the region, said Jetstar.
"These services are only available to citizens and permanent residents who are returning home, or those with prior written approval for travel," a spokesman added.
"On board, safety remains our first priority and while the risk of contracting COVID-19 on an aircraft is regarded as low, passenger numbers will be reduced to allow for safe distancing and onboard services will be scaled back with only water being served during the flight."
This means that only up to 112 seats will be available on each flight - about 60 per cent of the usual capacity of its planes.
All passengers will be required to wear a mask at all times. Crew members will also use masks and personal protective equipment in accordance with guidelines.
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