Air pressure: Singapore Airlines scraps routes due to weak demand

Singapore Airlines will cease flights to Athens and Abu Dhabi in a further sign that the the world's economy is being pulled down by the Greek financial, political and social crisis.

The airline cited "the sustained weak performance of both routes" as the reason for pulling out.

The last flights to Athens and Abu Dhabi will depart Singapore on October 26.

Passengers who hold tickets for flights after that date (October 27 for the return Abu Dhabi-Singapore service) will be offered full refunds, the airline said.

Singapore will continue to fly to Dubai in the Middle East. Travellers wanting to go to Athens can fly on the airline's Star Alliance partners (such as Lufthansa, Swiss Air, Aegean Airlines, SAS) from the airline's other European ports, it said.

The airline said it has been a "difficult" decision to axe flights to both cities, after having flown to Athens since 1972 and Abu Dhabi since 2006.

"The suspensions are in line with Singapore Airlines' policy to match capacity to prevailing market demand," it said.

Singapore Airlines has been flying to Athens twice a week, with an additional weekly flight over Europe's summer months, and to Abu Dhabi three times a week.

The airline said it would make efforts to offer alternative flight arrangements to affected customers, including those who used loyalty points for the flights.

Singapore Airlines' net profit for the financial year ended in March tumbled 69 per cent to Sg$336 million ($A267 million), weighed down by a rare loss in the fourth quarter.

Asia's premium airlines such as Singapore - which get a bulk of their revenues from first and business-class passengers - are among the hardest hit by persistent high oil prices and global economic uncertainty sparked by the eurozone debt woes and patchy US economic recovery.

In addition, they are also under pressure in the premium segment due to fiercer competition from Middle Eastern carriers which have vastly improved their services and at the lower end of the market by budget airlines.

with AFP