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Singapore Airlines has 79% of fleet ready to use on any demand increase

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FILE PHOTO: Singapore Airlines planes sit on the tarmac at Changi Airport in Singapore
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By Jamie Freed

(Reuters) -Singapore Airlines Ltd has 79% of its fleet and the vast majority of pilots and cabin crew active so that it can quickly capitalise on any increase in demand, the airline's chief executive said on Friday.

"We have 92% of pilots and 86% of cabin crew now back with us," he told analysts and media. "At the level we are operating now, which is 37% of pre-COVID capacity, going up to 43% in December, we are quite comfortable with this return rate."

The airline said on Thursday market conditions were improving after it reported a narrower second-quarter loss due to cost-cutting efforts, record cargo revenue and an improvement in passenger numbers from a low base.

Singapore has recently opened vaccinated travel lanes without quarantine with more than a dozen countries including Britain, the United States, Germany, Australia and South Korea.

"A China opening is not likely to happen at the moment, but we are ready to capitalise on any other opportunities that come our way," Goh said.

Neighbouring Malaysia will be added to the list from Nov. 29, allowing for more flights between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, one of the world's busiest international routes before the pandemic.

Singapore has capped daily arrivals for the vaccinated travel lanes, meaning the allowable traffic is in the single-digit percentages of pre-pandemic passenger numbers.

But it is an encouraging sign for travel in the Asia-Pacific region, which had had some of the world's toughest border controls during the pandemic.

(Reporting by Jamie Freed in Sydney; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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