Singapore Airlines Q1 net profit up 56 percent

Singapore Airlines (SIA) said Thursday its net profit in the first financial quarter rose 56 percent from the year before, mainly due to one time gains.

Net profit of Sg$122 million ($96 million) in the April-June period was driven largely by proceeds from the sale of surplus aircraft and gains after it sold its stake in Virgin Atlantic to Delta Air Lines, SIA said in a statement.

Revenue climbed 1.7 percent to Sg$3.84 billion.

The Asian carrier received a net gain of Sg$336 million from the sale of its stake in Virgin Atlantic to the US carrier.

However, SIA said also suffered a "restructuring impairment cost" totalling Sg$293 million on four surplus freighter aircraft it removed from the operating fleet and marked for sale.

"The group's operating environment continues to be impacted by the uncertain global economic climate and high fuel prices," the airline said, commenting on the market outlook.

Forward passenger bookings are likely to be higher in the next few months but "yields are expected to be weaker as a result of the intense competitive environment".

Cargo demand is also forecast to "remain depressed", SIA said.

SIA is facing stiff rivalry from Middle Eastern and other Asian carriers as well as from budget airlines which have grown in number in Asia.

SIA reported a net profit in the year ending March of Sg$379 million, up 12.8 percent, boosted by surplus from the sale of aircraft, spares and spare engines.

Shares of SIA fell 0.58 percent to close at Sg$10.25 Thursday before the results were released.