Singapore Airlines unit SilkAir said on Tuesday it has scaled down expansion plans for the financial year to March 2009, as natural disasters hit travel demand on its China and Myanmar routes.
The regional carrier, which also flies to cities in India, Taiwan and Indonesia, said capacity expansion for the year will be moderated to 5-7 percent, down from 8-10 percent previously.
�A few of our destinations have been hit by natural disasters this year, and that meant we have had to adjust down our capacity expansion plans and reduce flight frequency,� SilkAir Chief Executive Chin Yau Seng told reporters at a briefing.
Chin said travel to Myanmar's former capital Yangon dipped after the country was hit by a cyclone in May, while travel to the Chinese cities of Chengdu, Chongqing and Kunming have yet to recover from the massive Sichuan earthquake in the same month.
�But as of now we are still seeing very strong demand for travel within Asia, and we expect travel to grow,� said Chin, adding that SilkAir's main passenger base were Singaporeans.
A slowdown in the global economy, coupled with a surge in jet fuel prices this year, has led to worries over aviation demand and airline profits.
SilkAir, which currently flies 15 Airbus A320s with another 11 on firm order, last month posted operating profits of S$10 million ($7.1 million) for the April-June quarter, up 79 percent from a year ago due to better demand in most of its markets.
The airline has options to purchase another 9 of the A320s from Airbus, but Chin said the carrier will only decide whether to take up these options next year.