The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the fragility of our interconnected economy. It continues to threaten public health, slow the world economy and stifle travel. Although there is still much uncertainty about how the pandemic will develop, it seems likely that the world will experience the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, putting the vulnerable in our society most at risk.
Living through the upheavals caused by the pandemic in the last six months has given all of us at SATS greater awareness of the social impact we can make, and so deepened our sense of purpose as we feed and connect Asia. Through our operations in China, the epicentre of the pandemic, we gained early insights into the devastating effects of the coronavirus right at the start of 2020. At the height of the crisis in China, extensive measures were introduced to control the spread of the disease, requiring our air cargo team in Beijing to adapt swiftly as they handled 14,500 tonnes of critical medical supplies. With bellyhold capacity disappearing across the region, our colleagues even loaded such essential supplies securely onto seats in passenger planes to prevent critical supply chains from being disrupted by the epidemic.
The lockdown in many countries led to panic buying and concerns about food security. Harnessing our global food sourcing, trading and logistics capabilities, we worked with airline partners to launch dedicated flights to bring essential supplies of meat, fish and eggs into Singapore to stock supermarket shelves. We also ramped up our central kitchen operations in India, Maldives and Singapore to produce meals for essential workers who were working tirelessly to care for the sick in the community. Turning our cruise terminal operations into a floating dormitory for more than 6,300 migrant workers to rest after their recovery from COVID-19 infection, we adapted systems and processes used in our aviation operations to help manage the dormitory function with heightened safety measures. It was heartening to see many of our colleagues volunteer for roles in public health and safety, working in hospitals, business call centres and public places to ensure the community’s safety and the continuity of small businesses. SATS Academy was working flat out to train more than 20,000 people working in the transport industry, turning empty gate hold rooms into improvised classrooms.
I am grateful to my colleagues for showing such strength, agility and purpose during the pandemic. As the world continues to battle COVID-19, we will be working with our customers and business partners to accelerate our transformation, providing more sustainable solutions as we seek to feed and connect Asia.
President & Chief Executive Officer
28 July 2020