Singapore Airlines (SQ, Singapore Changi) has secured up to SGD19 billion Singapore dollars (USD13.3 billion) in funding to help it cope with the coronavirus crisis and “be in a position of strength to grow” afterwards, it said in a statement dated March 26.

Singapore Airlines' majority shareholder, state-owned Temasek Holdings, said it would underwrite the sale of shares and convertible bonds for up to SGD15 billion (USD10.5 billion), while Singapore's biggest bank, DBS Group, provided a SGD4 billion (USD2.8 billion) bridge loan facility.

It is the biggest single package of financing announced by an airline during the pandemic so far, according to Reuters news agency.

“This transaction will not only tide SIA over a short-term financial liquidity challenge but will position it for growth beyond the pandemic,” Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara, chief executive of Temasek International, said. “We fully support SIA’s plans to transform itself. This includes the modernisation of its fleet. The delivery of a new generation aircraft over the next few years will provide better fuel efficiencies as well as meet its capacity expansion strategy.”

The airline has slashed 96% of its capacity and grounded almost its entire fleet since the Singapore government banned foreign transit passengers on March 23.

“Through government support for aviation, and if necessary more direct support measures, we will make sure SIA is able to come through this in good shape,” assured Swee Keat Heng, minister of finance and deputy prime minister.

Aviation is a key pillar of Singapore’s economy, supporting more than 12% of the country’s GDP and 375,000 jobs, Singapore Airlines emphasised in the statement. The group is “at the heart of the aviation ecosystem, with SIA [and subsidiaries] SilkAir and Scoot accounting for more than half of the passengers flying in and out of Singapore Changi Airport,” it said.