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Business

Fewer paying customers have airline scrambling to adjust

SINGAPORE -- Singapore Airlines suffered a year-on-year fall in passenger load factor last month and is adjusting its capacity accordingly.

      The airline's October operating results show the total distance passengers traveled declined 1.2% from a year earlier, while passenger capacity grew 0.5%. Consequently, passenger load factor, the percentage of seats taken up by paid travelers, fell 1.3 points, to 77.2%.

     The load factor dropped on most routes, particularly those to and from the Americas and Europe. Demand for travel to the Americas, West Asia and Africa was weak. The aviation market "remains challenging," the airline said in a statement. "Capacity will be adjusted to better match market demand, and promotional activities will continue in relevant markets."

     Meanwhile, short-haul subsidiary SilkAir saw a 0.5-point improvement in passenger load factor, to 70.3%. It had 8.7% more passengers, while capacity expanded 3.1%.

     Competition in Southeast Asia's skies has intensified, especially from the growing number of budget airlines. Singapore Airlines is trying to appeal to budget travelers through subsidiaries like Tigerair. At the same time, Singapore Airlines is trying to attract corporate flyers with improved business and first-class cabins. It also plans to introduce a premium economy class in the second half of 2015.

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