Bloomberg News

Singapore Air Says Slowdown May Curb U.S., Europe Flights Demand

February 14, 2012

(Updates with CEO comments in second paragraph. Click SHOW <GO> for more Singapore Air Show news.)

Feb. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Singapore Airlines Ltd., the world’s second-largest carrier by market value, said the global economic slowdown may curb demand for flights to Europe and the U.S.

“I think there will be pressure, particularly for long- haul operations,” Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong told reporters in Singapore today at an air show conference. Asia travel is growing and business demand “is still quite strong overall,” he said.

Qatar Airways Ltd. CEO Akbar Al Baker also today said he expects a “strong recession” that will sap air-travel demand. A debt crisis has slowed travel and trade in Europe, while economic growth in the U.S. is “sluggish,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said last week.

Goh said Singapore Airlines retains confidence in the Airbus SAS A380, even after cracks were discovered in wing parts prompting safety checks. The Singapore-based carrier has inspected and repaired 10 of its double-deck superjumbos and returned them to service.

Airbus is helping to fix the cracks and it is “hopeful” that it will be able to win more orders from Asian operators of the planes, said Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders separately.

“We will fix the wing problems as quickly as possible,” he told reporters. “We screwed it up, we fix it at whatever it costs.”

--Editor: Robert Fenner, Neil Denslow

To contact the reporters on this story: Kyunghee Park in Singapore at kpark3@bloomberg.net; Jasmine Wang in Hong Kong at jwang513@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net


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