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SIA snags S$10b in fresh liquidity; boosts health measures on flights
SINGAPORE Airlines (SIA) on Monday said it has raised S$10 billion in liquidity through its recent rights issue, and a mix of both secured and unsecured credit facilities.
"This puts SIA on a steady footing as it tackles the challenges posed by the global Covid-19 outbreak," the national carrier said.
Besides the S$8.8 billion from the completion of its rights issue on June 5, a further S$900 million was raised through long-term loans secured on some of SIA's Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 787-10 aircraft.
The company has also arranged new committed lines of credit and a short-term unsecured loan with several banks, which provide further fresh liquidity amounting to more than S$500 million.
All existing committed lines of credit that were due to mature this year have been renewed until 2021 or later, ensuring access to more than S$1.7 billion in liquidity, SIA said.
For the period up to July 2021, SIA also retains the option to raise up to a further S$6.2 billion in additional mandatory convertible bonds, which will provide additional liquidity if necessary, it noted.
Separately, SIA and its budget arm Scoot are stepping up on their health and safety initiatives amid the Covid-19 outbreak, both carriers announced on Sunday.
Among other things, SIA has stepped up the cleaning procedures at all premises, including its SilverKris Lounges. Customers will be able to have a la carte meals instead of a buffet service at their lounges, where SIA staff will wear masks at all times and gloves when necessary, it said.
Every SIA group aircraft now also undergoes an "enhanced cleaning process" before a flight, the national carrier said.
This includes aircraft fogging procedures that follow regulatory requirements. "Common surfaces and areas such as windows, tray tables, handsets, in-flight entertainment screens, lavatories and galleys are wiped down with an approved strong disinfectant. Headsets, headrest covers, pillow covers, bedsheets and blankets are also washed and replaced after every flight," SIA said.
In addition, the air within the cabin is refreshed every two to three minutes. "Every aircraft in the group fleet is equipped with High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which remove more than 99.9 per cent of particles including airborne viruses and bacteria," SIA said.
The airline is also looking at a trial of an ultra-violet light cleaning procedure on the ground for its lavatories before every flight.
From June 8, all airlines in the SIA group will provide their customers with a care kit that includes a surgical mask, anti-bacterial hand wipes and a hand sanitiser.
IN-FLIGHT PRODUCTS AND SERVICES
Newspapers, magazines and seatback literature have been removed from SIA's aircraft. Instead, passengers can access over 150 reading materials and control SIA's in-flight entertainment system via the SingaporeAir mobile app.
To facilitate contract tracing and safe distancing, Scoot customers will be assigned seats when they check in. "Scoot will endeavour to seat customers travelling with family, or customers in the same booking, together. Customers should not change seats in-flight," Scoot said.
Meanwhile, SIA crew will wear face masks throughout the flight, with the additions of eye goggles when interacting with customers and gloves during the meal service. Meals services have been suspended for flights within South-east Asia and services to mainland China due to regulatory reasons, and snack bags will be provided instead, SIA said.
Similarly, all Scoot flights will operate with limited in-flight service, with no sale of food and beverage items or duty-free shopping products. "Instead, refreshments that have been packaged following strict food safety standards will be pre-placed on seats to limit physical interactions between customers and crew," Scoot said.
SIA said it will introduce digital food ordering services in the lounges as well as an in-flight e-menu in the coming months.
The company is also working on allowing passengers to print their boarding passes and baggage tags at airport self-service kiosks in a contactless way via the SingaporeAir mobile app or a QR code.
As at 9.29am on Monday, SIA shares were trading at S$4.35, up S$0.02 or 0.5 per cent.