Singapore Airlines

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Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines Logo.svg
IATA
SQ
ICAO
SIA
Callsign
SINGAPORE
Founded 1 May 1947; 66 years ago (1947-05-01) (as Malayan Airways)
Commenced operations 1 October 1972; 41 years ago (1972-10-01)
Hubs

Singapore Changi Airport

Frequent-flyer program
Airport lounge SilverKris Lounge
The Private Room
KrisFlyer Gold Lounge
First Class Reception Lounge
Alliance Star Alliance (2000)
Subsidiaries Scoot
SilkAir
Singapore Airlines Cargo
Fleet size 105
Destinations 62
Company slogan 'A Great Way to Fly' (English) 'Cara Besar untuk Terbang' (Malay) 'பறக்க ஒரு சிறந்த வழி' (Tamil)
Parent company Temasek Holdings (54.50%)
Headquarters Airline House
25 Airline Road
Singapore 819829
Singapore
Key people Goh Choon Phong (CEO)
Revenue Increase S$14.857 billion (FY 2012/13)
Operating income Decrease S$229.2 million (FY 2012/13)
Net income Increase S$378.9 million (FY 2012/13)
Employees 14,156 (FY 2012/13)
Website www.singaporeair.com

Singapore Airlines Limited (SIA) (SGX: C6L) is the flag carrier of Singapore and a 5-star airline.[1] Singapore Airlines operates a hub at Changi Airport and has a strong presence in the Southeast Asia, East Asia, South Asia, and "Kangaroo Route" markets.

Singapore Airlines was the launch customer of Airbus A380, currently the world's largest passenger aircraft. SIA has diversified airline-related businesses, such as aircraft handling and engineering. Its wholly owned subsidiary, SilkAir, manages regional flights to secondary cities with smaller capacity requirements. Subsidiary Singapore Airlines Cargo operates SIA's dedicated freighter fleet, and manages the cargo-hold capacity in SIA's passenger aircraft. SIA once had a 49% shareholding in Virgin Atlantic before selling it to Delta Airlines for a mere €277 million in December 2012.[2] It also engages the low-cost carrier sector through its stake in Tiger Airways and wholly owned subsidiary, Scoot. It ranks amongst the top 15 carriers worldwide in terms of revenue passenger kilometres,[3] and 10th in the world for international passengers carried.[4] On 15 December 2010, Singapore Airlines was announced by the International Air Transport Association as the second largest airline in the world by market capitalisation with a worth of 14 billion US dollars.[5] Singapore Airlines utilises the Singapore Girl as its central figure in its corporate branding.[6]

History[edit]

Origin[edit]

An Airspeed Consul (VR-SCD) – the first aircraft type operated by Malayan Airways, which was the forerunner of Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines began with the incorporation of Malayan Airways Limited (MAL) on 1 May 1947, by the Ocean Steamship Company of Liverpool, the Straits Steamship Company of Singapore and Imperial Airways. The airline's first flight was a chartered flight from the British Straits Settlement of Singapore to Kuala Lumpur on 2 April 1947 using an Airspeed Consul twin-engined aircraft.[7] Regular weekly scheduled flights quickly followed from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang from 1 May 1947 with the same aircraft type.[8] The airline continued to expand during the rest of the 1940s and 1950s, as other British Commonwealth airlines (such as BOAC and Qantas Empire Airways) provided technical assistance, as well as assistance in joining IATA.[citation needed] By 1955, Malayan Airways' fleet had grown to include a large number of Douglas DC-3s, and went public in 1957. Other aircraft operated in the first two decades included the Douglas DC-4 Skymaster, the Vickers Viscount, the Lockheed 1049 Super Constellation, the Bristol Britannia, the de Havilland Comet 4 and the Fokker F27.

When Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak formed the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, the airline's name was changed, from "Malayan Airways" to "Malaysian Airways". MAL also took over Borneo Airways. In 1966, following Singapore's separation from the federation, the airline's name was changed again, to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA). The next year saw a rapid expansion in the airline's fleet and route, including the purchase of MSA's first Boeing aircraft, the Boeing 707s, as well the completion of a new high-rise headquarters in Singapore. Boeing 737s were added to the fleet soon after.

Incorporation and growth[edit]

MSA ceased operations in 1972, when Singapore wanted to develop its international routes but Malaysia wanted to develop its domestic routes before moving on to international routes, resulting in the formation of Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines System.[9][10][11] Hence, Singapore Airlines kept all of MSA's Boeing 707s and 737s, retained the international routes out of Singapore as well as the existing corporate headquarters in the city, with J.Y. Pillay, former joint chief of MSA as its first chairperson. Female flight attendants continued to wear the sarong kebaya uniform, which had been first introduced in 1968. A local start-up advertising company, Batey Ads was given the right to market the airline, eventually selecting the sarong and kebaya-clad air stewardesses as an icon for the airline and calling them Singapore Girls.

SIA DC-10-30 at Zurich in 1979.

SIA expanded almost overnight after the split from MSA in 1972, adding cities in the Indian subcontinent and Asia, and adding Boeing 727s, Boeing 747s and Douglas DC-10s to its fleet. The 1st two 747s arrived in the summer of 1973 and were deployed on the lucrative Singapore-Hong Kong-Taipei-Tokyo (Haneda Airport) run. As additional 747-200s arrived they were placed on routes to London, Paris and Rome, Australia and the long cherished USA with service to Los Angeles, California. The DC-10s lasted only a couple of years in the SIA fleet. In 1977, Singapore Airlines took delivery of its first Boeing 727-200 Advanced, flying it on its inaugural service from Singapore to Manila. The B727 was Singapore Airlines' successor to the B737-100s that it had inherited from MSA.

Concorde in Singapore Airlines livery at Heathrow in 1979.

In 1977 British Airways and Singapore Airlines shared a Concorde for flights between London and Singapore International Airport at Paya Lebar via Bahrain. The aircraft, BA's Concorde G-BOAD, was painted in Singapore Airlines livery on the port side and British Airways livery on the starboard side.[12][13] The service was discontinued after three return flights because of noise complaints from the Malaysian government;[14] it could only be reinstated on a new route bypassing Malaysian airspace in 1979. A dispute with India prevented Concorde from reaching supersonic speeds in Indian airspace so the route was discontinued in 1980.[15]

Revenue Passenger-Miles/Kilometers, in millions
Year Traffic
1972 1413 RPMs
1973 2944 RPKs
1975 5104 RPKs
1979 12041 RPKs
1985 21676 RPKs
1990 31270 RPKs
1995 48400 RPKs
2000 70795 RPKs
Source:Air Transport World
A Singapore Airlines Airbus A300 seen at the Farnborough Airshow in 1980.

The 1980s saw expanded services to United States, Canada, and additional European cities with Madrid becoming the first Hispanic city to be served by SIA. Boeing 747-300s were leased and introduced into the SIA fleet in the early 1980s and named 'Big Tops'. The 747-300s replaced the 747-200s on all trans-pacific routes as well as the prime European destinations. Again a short term affair was begun with a few Boeing 757s later followed by the addition of Airbus A310s and Airbus A300s The A310s became the Asian regional workhorse of the fleet, with the small A310-200 fleet serving until the late 1990s, and the much larger A310-300 fleet serving into the 2000s. In 1989, the first of 50 B747-400s was added to the fleet. The Airbus A340-300s augmented the 747-400s on long-range routes to Spain, Zurich, Copenhagen, San Francisco and cities not suitable for 747 service. Services extended to southern Africa in the 1990s when the airline began flights to Johannesburg in South Africa; Cape Town and Durban were later added. The 1990s also saw the opening of Terminal 2 in Changi Airport in 1991; all flight operations later moved to the new terminal.

In 2003 SIA obtained 5 long range Airbus A340-500 aircraft and started the two longest nonstop flights in aviation history, Singapore – Newark and Singapore – Los Angeles. In winter 2007 SIA saw its first double decker Airbus A380-800 join the fleet. Today Singapore Airlines is the world's 2nd largest operator of the type after Emirates of the UAE. SIA employs the A380 on routes to London, Zurich, Frankfurt, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles and New York. SIA is also currently a far reaching global carrier and is a cornerstone member of Star Alliance.

Modern history[edit]

A Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400, dubbed Megatop, at Auckland Airport, New Zealand. The Megatop was the flagship of the airline from 1989 until the introduction of the Airbus A380 in October 2007

In 2004, SIA began non-stop trans-Pacific flights from Singapore to Los Angeles and Newark, utilising the Airbus A340-500. These flights marked the first non-stop air services between Singapore and the USA. The Singapore to Newark flight held the record for the longest scheduled commercial flight, with a flying time of about 18 hours each way. Singapore Airlines has converted its five Airbus A340-500 aircraft from a 64 Business Class/117 Premium Economy Class configuration to a 100-seat all- Business Class configuration for its routes to Newark and Los Angeles.

At a Cabinet meeting on 22 February 2006, the Government of Australia decided not to grant fifth freedom rights to Singapore Airlines on flights from Australia to the United States.[16] Singapore Airlines had argued that transpacific flights from Australia suffered from under-capacity, leading to limited competition and relatively high air fares.[16] The move was seen as a measure taken to protect Qantas from increased competition.[16] SIA had encountered such protectionist measures in the past when SIA was shut out from the Toronto market after complaints from Air Canada, and was forced to stop flying Boeing 747-400s into Jakarta in the wake of protests from Garuda Indonesia when it could not use similar equipment to compete.[17]

Singapore Airlines, along with Star Alliance partner South African Airways, was fined 25 million South African Rand (S$4.1 million) as an administrative penalty to partially settle a price-fixing investigation against the airline by the South African Competition Commission from 2008 to 2012.[18]

On 6 April 2012, Singapore Airlines phased out the last 747 in its fleet after 40 years of service. A final round-trip commemorative flight was operated from Singapore to Hong Kong with flight numbers SQ747 and SQ748 respectively. As well as an extended flying time, special meals, performances and inflight celebrations, passengers were given well stocked 747 goody bags.

The airline announced that it will end the world's longest nonstop flights from Singapore to both Newark and Los Angeles from 23 November 2013 and 20 October 2013, respectively. However, Los Angeles will continue to be served from Singapore via Tokyo-Narita.[19]

Airbus A380[edit]

On 29 September 2000, SIA announced an order for up to 25 Airbus A3XX (as the A380 was known at the time). The US$8.6 billion order comprised a firm order of 10 aircraft, with options on another 15 airframes.[20] The order was confirmed by Singapore Airlines on 12 July 2001. In January 2005, the airline unveiled the slogan "First to Fly the A380 – Experience the Difference in 2006", to promote itself as the first airline to take delivery of the A380-800, which was expected to take place in the second quarter of 2006.[21] In June 2005, Airbus confirmed that due to unforeseen technical problems, initial deliveries of the Airbus A380 would be delayed by up to six months,[22] with the first delivery now slated for November 2006. The announcement was met with fury by SIA's Chief Executive Officer, Chew Choon Seng, who threatened to sue Airbus, saying: "Airbus took some time to acknowledge the delay in the timetable for the A380's entry into service...I would have expected more sincerity."[23]

Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 taking off at Zürich Airport in March 2011.

He further stated that SIA will be turning its attention to Boeing instead, since it would be receiving the Boeing 777-300ER before the A380. Nevertheless, SIA has indicated that this would not affect its promotional campaign. In February 2006, the first A380 in full Singapore Airlines livery was flown to Singapore, where it was displayed at Asian Aerospace 2006. On 14 June 2006, Singapore Airlines placed an initial order for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner as part of its future aircraft expansion. The order consisted of 20 787-9s and rights for 20 more. This order came one day after Airbus announced that the A380 Superjumbo would be delayed by another 6 months. A third delay was announced on 3 October 2006, pushing the initial delivery of the first A380 to October 2007.[24]

On 25 October 2007, the first commercial A380 service, SQ 380,[25] carried 455 passengers from Singapore to Sydney, touching down in Sydney Airport at 3:24 pm local time, where it received significant attention from the media.[26] The airline donated all revenue generated from the flight to three charities in a ceremony the next day in Sydney. SIA began regular services with the A380 on 28 October 2007.

Fleet reductions[edit]

On 16 February 2009 the airline announced that it would remove 17 aircraft from its operating fleet between April 2009 and March 2010, as part of a cost-saving initiative to help counter falling passenger and cargo demand, having originally planned to phase out only four aircraft. The airline stated that it could not rule out delaying deliveries on aircraft already ordered.[27][28]

Scoot[edit]

In May 2011, Singapore Airlines revealed plans to launch a low-fare airline subsidiary within a year. The wholly owned subsidiary, New Aviation, was incorporated on 17 June 2011 with an issued and paid up capital of S$1.[29]

On 1 November 2011, it was announced that the low-cost airline would be named Scoot and would begin flights from mid-2012 with a fleet of four Boeing 777-200 wide-body aircraft.[30][31] focused on medium- and long-haul routes. The airline will be wholly owned but operated independently and managed separately from Singapore Airlines.[32]

TATA SIA airlines[edit]

In 2013, Singapore airlines announced a formation of a joint venture TATA SIA airlines along with Tata Sons. The airline will be based out of New Delhi, India and has hoped to start operations in the second half of 2014. The airline has ordered up to 20 Airbus A320s and will compete with full service carriers Air India and Jet Airways.[33]

Corporate management[edit]

Robinson 77 (Formerly known as SIA Building) was the flagship building for Singapore Airlines, before it was sold in 2006
Airline House, the corporate head office of Singapore Airlines, is in the background

The airline is majority-owned by Singapore government investment and holding company Temasek Holdings[34] which holds 54.5% of voting stock.[35] The Singapore government, which holds a golden share via the Ministry of Finance, has regularly stressed its non-involvement in the management of the company, a point emphasised by Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew when he declared that the aviation hub status of Singapore Changi Airport will be defended, even at the cost of SIA.[36] However, he was personally involved in defusing tensions between the company and its pilots,[37] warned the airline to cut costs,[38] and made public his advice to the airline to divest from its subsidiary companies.[39] Still, independent research typically rates the airline as practising sound corporate governance policies in accordance with national regulations.[40] In the lead up to the conclusion of the Open Skies Agreement with the United Kingdom on 2 October 2007, the Singapore aviation authorities referred to the airline's audited annual reports to dispel the notion that SIA receives state funding, subsidies or preferential treatment from the government, despite being a Government-linked company.[41] Singapore Airlines is headquartered at Airline House, by Changi Airport in the Changi area of Singapore.[42] Marie Bordet of Le Point said that the head office was "un tantinet décrépit" ("a little decrepit").[43]

Structure[edit]

Singapore Airlines has diversified into related industries and sectors, including ground handling, aircraft leasing, aviation engineering, air catering, and tour operations. It has also restructured itself by hiving off operational units as fully owned subsidiaries to maintain its core business as a passenger airline. The Singapore Airlines Group comprised 25 subsidiaries, 32 associates, and two joint venture companies in the financial year ending 31 March 2007. SIA sold all its equity share of 35.5% in a joint venture, Singapore Aircraft Leasing Enterprise, to the Bank of China for US$980 million on 15 December 2006.[44]

There were suggestions to divest SIA Engineering Company and Singapore Airport Terminal Services, two of SIA's largest subsidiaries. Former Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, for one, voiced his opinion in December 2005 that Singapore Airlines should divest these two companies to focus on its core business of air transportation.[45] Singapore Airlines has evaluated the divestment opportunity and Singapore Airport Terminal Services (which was renamed as SATS Group) was diversified from the group on 1 September 2009.[46][47]

Companies in the Singapore Airlines Group include:

Company Type Principal activities Incorporated in Group's Equity Shareholding
(31 March 2013)
SIA Engineering Company Limited Subsidiary Engineering Singapore 78.6%
Aircraft Maintenance Services Australia Pty Ltd Subsidiary Aircraft Maintenance and Handling Australia 78.6%
Nexgen Network (1) Holding Pte Ltd Subsidiary Investment Singapore 78.6%
Nexgen Network (2) Holding Pte Ltd Subsidiary Investment Singapore 78.6%
SIA Engineering (USA) Inc Subsidiary Aircraft Maintenance and Handling United States 78.6%
SIAEC Global Pte Ltd Subsidiary Investment Singapore 78.6%
SIA Engineering (Philippines) Corporation Subsidiary Engineering Philippines 51.6%
Singapore Jamco Pte Ltd Subsidiary Engineering Singapore 51.1%
Singapore Airlines Cargo Pte Ltd Subsidiary Cargo Airline Singapore 100.9%
Cargo Community Network Pte Ltd Subsidiary Marketing Singapore 51.0%
Cargo Community (Shanghai) Co Ltd Subsidiary Marketing China 51.0%
SilkAir (Singapore) Private Limited Subsidiary Airline Singapore 100.0&
Scoot Pte Ltd Subsidiary Airline Singapore 100.0%
Tradewinds Tours & Travel Private Limited Subsidiary Tour wholesaling Singapore 100.0%
Singapore Aviation and General Insurance Company (Pte) Ltd Subsidiary Insurance Singapore 100.0%
Singapore Flying College Pte Ltd Training Subsidiary Singapore 100.0%
Abacus Travel Systems Pte Ltd Marketing Subsidiary Singapore 61.0%
SIA (Mauritius) Ltd Subsidiary Recruitment Mauritius 100.0%
International Engine Component Overhaul Pte Ltd Joint venture Engineering Singapore 39.3%
Singapore Aero Engine Services Pte Ltd Joint venture Engineering Singapore 39.3%

Operational investments[edit]

Boeing 747-400 arriving at London Heathrow Airport

The airline has invested in other airlines in a bid to expand beyond its Singapore base, although the results are often financially negative. In 1989, it went into a tripartite alliance with Delta Air Lines and Swissair,[48] but terminated their partnership in 1999 after divesting their 5% equity stake in each other's company. The airline purchased 25% of Air New Zealand in 2000. However following the near collapse of Air New Zealand the New Zealand government bought into the airline to rescue it from bankruptcy, reducing Singapore Airlines' stake to 4.5%. This was subsequently sold in October 2004 at a substantial loss.

SIA bought a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways on 30 March 2000 worth 600 million pounds in cash[49] in the hope of leveraging on it on the lucrative transatlantic market, but by 2007, there has been reports of underperformance and the possibility of divesting its stake.[50] On 14 May 2008, the company formally announced an invitation for offers for its Virgin Atlantic stake, and publicly acknowledged that its stake in the airline has "underperformed".[51] In September 2004, the airline entered the low-cost carrier market by establishing Tiger Airways with a 49% stake, in partnership with Indigo Partners LLC, the investment firm founded by Bill Franke, (24%); Irelandia Investments Limited, the private investment arm of Tony Ryan and his family, (16%); and Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd (11%). Tiger Airways was eventually listed on Singapore Exchange in Feb 2010, reducing SIA shares to 34.4%.

SIA also purchased a 10% stake in Virgin Australia on 30 October 2012 worth A$105 million.

On 12 December 2012, Singapore Airlines sold its 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic for US$360 million.

Labour[edit]

The Singapore Airlines Group employed a total of 21,534 staff members at the end of the fiscal year on 31 March 2011.[52] The parent airline itself employed 13,942 (47.3%), of which there are 2,174 pilots and 6,914 cabin crew. The group's employees are represented by five labour unions, namely the Singapore Airlines Staff Union (SIASU), the SIA Engineering Company Engineers and Executives Union (SEEU), the Singapore Airport Terminal Services Workers' Union (SATSWU), the Air Transport Executives Staff Union (AESU) and the Air Line Pilots' Association Singapore (ALPA-S).

Relations between the labour unions and the group management has been testy at times, particularly after a series of wage cuts, retrenchments, and early retirement affected staff morale during and after difficult economic conditions such as the SARS outbreak in 2003.[53] The ALPA-S alone has been involved in no less than 24 disputes with group management since its registration in May 1981 (itself formed after its predecessor, the Singapore Airlines Pilots Association had 15 EXCO members charged and convicted for initiating illegal industrial action in 1980 in the wake of disputes with management and the SIAPA was deregistered on 26 February 1981) up to 30 November 2003, when the Ministry of Manpower (Singapore) amended the Trade Unions Act to overrule an item in ALPA-S's constitution requiring formal ratification from the general membership for negotiation agreements involving the executive committee.[54] In 2007, the airline was in the spotlight again when ALPA-S disagreed with the management's proposed salary rate for pilots flying the Airbus A380,[55] and the case had to be settled by the Industrial Arbitration Court.[56] The salary ranges of SIA's pilots were made public during the first day of the hearings, and the press noted that the airline's 935 captains who fly the Boeing 777 received higher salaries (over S$270,000) at the midpoint of their salary brackets compared to the company's 36 vice-presidents (S$233,270).[57]

Disputes have also affected the unions, some so severe that they have attracted the intervention of the government. The internal feuding in ALPA-S which led to the ousting of the entire 22-member executive committee on 17 November 2003 was attributed to "internal politics" and theories that it may involve former pilots, including those involved in the deregistration of SIAPA.[58] In January 2008, NTUC secretary-general Lim Swee Say spoke up against legal action by parties involved in an internal dispute in SIASU.[59]

On 2 April 2007 the airline group and its unions jointly launched the "Singapore Airlines Group Union-Management Partnership" and the Labour Movement 2011 (LM2011) in a bid to improve their relations, each pledging to be "pro-worker" and "pro-business" respectively.[60] In April 2008, the airline's chairman Stephen Lee described the relations between management and the unions as "stable and cordial" in the last two years, with better communication between them. He alluded that several government figures, including Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew, has intervened to help alleviate differences, and that there has been more regular meetings and exchanges between the two sides.[61]

Financial performance[edit]

Singapore Airlines Group Financial Highlights[62][63]
Year ended Revenue
(S$m)
Expenditure
(S$m)
Operating profit
(S$m)
Profit before
taxation (S$m)
Profit attributable to
equity holders (S$m)
EPS after tax
– diluted (cents)
31 March 1999 7,795.9 6,941.5 854.4 1,116.8 1,033.2 80.6
31 March 2000 9,018.8 7,850.0 1,168.8 1,463.9 1,163.8 91.4
31 March 2001 9,951.3 8,604.6 1,346.7 1,904.7 1,549.3 126.5
31 March 2002 9,382.8 8,458.2 924.6 925.6 631.7 51.9
31 March 2003 10,515.0 9,797.9 717.1 976.8 1,064.8 87.4
31 March 2004 9,761.9 9,081.5 680.4 820.9 849.3 69.7
31 March 2005 12,012.9 10,657.4 1,355.5 1,829.4 1,389.3 113.9
31 March 2006 13,341.1 12,127.8 1,213.3 1,662.1 1,240.7 101.3
31 March 2007 14,494.4 13,180.0 1,314.4 2,284.6 2,128.8 170.8
31 March 2008 15,972.5 13,848.0 2,124.5 2,547.2 2,049.4 166.1
31 March 2009 15,996.3 15,092.7 903.6 1,198.6 1,061.5 89.1
31 March 2010[64] 12,707.3 12,644.1 63.2 285.5 215.8 18.0
31 March 2011[65] 14,524.8 13,253.5 1,271.3 1,419.0 1,092.0 90.2
31 March 2012[66] 14,857.8 14,571.9 285.9 448.2 335.9 27.9

Operating performance[edit]

Singapore Airlines Operating Highlights (Parent Airline Company only)[62][63]
Year ended Passengers
(thousand)
RPK
(million)
ASK
(million)
Load factor
(%)
Yield
(S¢/km)
Unit cost
(cents/ASK)
Breakeven load
factor (%)
31 March 1993 8,640 37,860.6 53,100.4 71.3 10.5 - -
31 March 1994 9,468 42,328.3 59,283.3 71.4 10.1 - -
31 March 1995 10,082 45,412.2 64,053.9 70.9 9.9 - -
31 March 1996 11,057 50,045.4 68,555.3 73.0 9.4 - -
31 March 1997 12,022 54,692.5 73,511.4 74.4 9.0 - -
31 March 1998 11,957 54,441.2 77,221.6 70.5 9.5 - -
31 March 1999 12,777 60,299.9 83,191.7 72.5 8.6 - -
31 March 2000 13,782 65,718.4 87,728.3 74.9 9.1 - -
31 March 2001 15,002 71,118.4 92,648.0 76.8 9.4 7.5 70.2
31 March 2002 14,765 69,994.5 94,558.5 74.0 9.0 6.4 71.1
31 March 2003 15,326 74,183.2 99,565.9 74.5 9.1 6.7 73.6
31 March 2004 13,278 64,685.2 88,252.7 73.3 9.2 6.7 72.8
31 March 2005 15,944 77,593.7 104,662.3 74.1 10.1 7.0 69.3
31 March 2006 16,995 82,741.7 109,483.7 75.6 10.6 7.5 70.8
31 March 2007 18,346 89,148.8 112,543.8 79.2 10.9 7.9 72.5
31 March 2008 19,120 91,485.2 113,919.1 80.3 12.1 8.4 69.4
31 March 2009 18,293 90,128.1 117,788.7 76.5 12.5 9.2 73.6
31 March 2010[64] 16,480 82,882.5 105,673.7 78.4 10.4 8.6 82.7
31 March 2011[65] 16,647 84,801.3 108,060.2 78.5 11.9 8.9 74.8
31 March 2012[66] 17,155 87,824.0 113,409.7 77.4 11.8 9.2 78.0

Branding[edit]

Flight attendants, known as the Singapore Girls, are heavily marketed as the airline's icon

Branding and publicity efforts have revolved primarily around flight crew,[67][68] in contrast to most other airlines, who tend to emphasise aircraft and services in general. In particular, the promotion of its female flight attendants known as Singapore Girls has been widely successful and is a common feature in most of the airline's advertisements and publications. This branding strategy aims to build a mythical aura around the Singapore Girl, and portray her as representative of Asian hospitality and grace and the airline's training program for both cabin and technical flight crew complement this objective. This is similar to the tactics that Pan Am used as they also tried to promote their stewardesses as a big attraction to flying on the airline.

Dressed in a version of the indonesian Sarong Kebaya designed by Pierre Balmain in 1968,[69] the uniform of the Singapore Girl has remained largely unchanged. Stewards previously wore light-blue business jackets and grey trousers. Since June 2008, this has been redesigned by Christophe Galibert, artistic Director of Balmain Uniformes. The new steward's uniform now features a single-breasted navy blue suit (jacket and trousers), a sky blue shirt and different coloured striped ties. The tie colours differentiates the four ranks of cabin crew: inflight supervisor, chief steward(ess), leading steward(ess), and steward(ess).

Although a successful marketing image for the airline, the "Singapore Girl" emphasis received criticisms for its portrayal of women as subservient to males. Feminist groups say that its cultural references are outdated and that most Singaporean women today are modern and independent.[70]

On 9 January 2007, the airline announced it would put to tender its existing advertising contract with Batey Ads, the Singaporean company headed by founder Ian Batey, who was responsible for building up the Singapore Girl brand name and its partner since 1972.[71] The image of the Singapore Girl would still remain, although SIA will now focus on advertising and promoting its modern fleet and technology instead. On 16 April 2007, the airline appointed New York-based advertising agent TBWA\ to handle its creative advertising for the airline. The contract is worth S$50 million per year over the following five years. Stephen Forshaw, SIA's Vice-President of Public Affairs, said they will start the new branding campaign "as early as there is a practicable opportunity". This change in advertising agency will not affect SIA's buying media agency, which is presently MEC.[72]

The livery of Singapore Airlines includes the "bird" (also known as the Silver Kris) logo on the tailfin, which has remained unchanged since Singapore Airlines' inception, but the logotype and stripes used since 1972 were changed in 1988 to the ones still in use today. The livery had a recent change, which saw the "Singapore Airlines" logotype enlarged and moved towards the front, and in addition the "bird" logo on the tailfin enlarged, in a similar fashion to the livery variant used on the Airbus A380, but the stripes and the "bird" remain the same.

Destinations[edit]

Singapore Airlines flies to 62 destinations in 35 countries on six continents.

Singapore Airlines flies to 62 destinations in 35 countries on six continents[73] from its primary hub in Singapore. It has a strong presence in the Southeast Asian region, which together with its subsidiary SilkAir, connects Singapore with more international destinations in the region than any other Southeast Asian airline.

The airline has a key role on the Kangaroo Route. It flew 11.0% of all international traffic into and out of Australia in the month ended March 2008.[74]

SIA has taken advantage of liberal bilateral aviation agreements between Singapore and Thailand, and with the United Arab Emirates, to offer more onward connections from Bangkok and Dubai respectively.

Singapore Airlines operations at Singapore Changi Airport

AirAsia, a low-cost airline based in Malaysia, accused Singapore Airlines of double standards, when it claimed that the Government of Singapore has attempted to keep it out of the Singapore market,[75] although there has been no official word that Singapore Airlines has objected to the entry of AirAsia. Singapore Airlines has, instead, welcomed[76][77] the liberation of the Singapore-Kuala Lumpur route which it dominated together with Malaysia Airlines[78] for over three decades,[79] accounting for about 85% of the over 200 flight frequencies then operated.[80] A highly lucrative route for LCCs due to its short distance and heavy traffic as the fourth-busiest in Asia,[81][82] bringing Singapore Airline's capacity share on the route down to about 46.7%, Malaysia Airlines' down to 25.3%, and increase to 17.3% to the three LCCs now permitted on the route, and the remainder shared by three other airlines as of 22 September 2008.[83] Singapore Airline's capacity share will drop further from 1 December 2008 when the route is opened up completely to liberalisation, when it announced plans to share its capacity with sister airline SilkAir.[84] Malaysia Airlines, the main opponent to liberalisation of the route[85] and deemed to be the party which stands to lose the most, will continue to codeshare with both Singapore Airlines and SilkAir on the route.[86]

Codeshare agreements[edit]

Boeing 747-400 at Singapore Changi Airport in Star Alliance livery while still maintaining its corporate logo on the tail

Singapore Airlines codeshares with the following airlines, besides Star Alliance members:[87]

Fleet[edit]

Boeing 777-300ER (9V-SWA), the first of the −300ER variant to be delivered on 23 November 2006, taking off from Zürich Airport. The next generation of cabin products for First, Business, and Economy class, will enter service onboard all Boeing 777-300ERs.
An Airbus A380-800 at Zurich Airport in 2010.
Subtle livery changes were made in 2007, specifically to accommodate the arrival of the A380. These included a larger company name and a larger Singaporean flag on the fuselage and a larger tailfin logo as seen on the 747 on the left.

Singapore Airlines operates an all wide-body aircraft fleet from four aircraft families: Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Airbus A380, and Boeing 777. In keeping with its policy of maintaining a young fleet, it renews its fleet frequently.[63]

The airline formerly named its fleet according to aircraft type. The Boeing 747-400s were called "Megatop", the Boeing 777s were called "Jubilee" and the Airbus A340-500s were named "Leadership". Names for airliners previously flown by the airline include: "Superbus" for the eight Airbus A300s, "3Ten" for the 23 Airbus A310s, "Celestar" for the 17 Airbus A340-300s, "Super B" for the 23 Boeing 747-200s, and "Big Top" for the 14 Boeing 747-300s.[89] Several of these names were pulled officially from the mid-2000s under then CEO Chew Choon Seng. No official name has since been accorded to the newer A380s which joined the fleet in 2007.

The last 747 was retired on 6 April 2012, with special return flights from Singapore to Hong Kong to commemorate the aircraft's retirement.[90]

On 30 May 2013 Singapore Airlines made a commitment to order 30 Boeing 787-10X to be delivered in 2018–2019 timeframe.[91]

The Singapore Airlines fleet consists of the following aircraft (as of 31 March 2014):[92]

Singapore Airlines Fleet
Aircraft In Service Orders Options Passengers Notes
R F C Y Total
Airbus A330-300 26 8 30 255 285
Airbus A340-500 1 100 100 Remains as backup aircraft (not in use)
Airbus A350-900 70[93] 20
TBA
EIS: 2014. Replacing Boeing 777-200ER and original 200 series.

Options convertible to -1000 series.

Airbus A380-800 19 5 12
12

60
86
399
311
471
409
Boeing 777-200 15 12

42
30
38
234
293
228
288
323
266
Engines derated to non-ER standard.

Replacement aircraft: A350 XWB.

Boeing 777-200ER 15 30
26
255
245
285
271[94]
Boeing 777-300 7 8 50 226 284
Boeing 777-300ER 22 5 8 42 228 278
Boeing 787-10 30
TBA
EIS: 2018-2019 Launch Customer
Total 105 118 20

In-flight services[edit]

Cabins[edit]

Singapore Airlines offers four classes of service – suites, first class, business class and economy class. Major upgrades to its cabin and in-flight service were announced on 17 October 2006,[95] the first major overhaul in over eight years and costing the airline approximately S$570 million.[96] Initially planned for its Airbus A380-800's introduction into service in 2006, and subsequently on the Boeing 777-300ER, the postponement of the first A380-800 delivery meant it had to be introduced with the launch of the first Boeing 777-300ER with the airline on 5 December 2006 between Singapore and Paris.[97][98]

On July 9, 2013, Singapore Airlines, in collaboration with two design firms, James Park Associates and DesignworksUSA, unveiled the next generation of cabin products for First, Business, and Economy class, which will enter service onboard new Boeing 777-300ERs and Airbus A350s. London will be the first city served with the new product in September.[99]

Singapore Airlines Suites[edit]

Singapore Airlines Suites[100] is a class available only on the Airbus A380. The product was designed by French luxury yacht interior designer Jean-Jacques Coste and consists of separate compartments with walls and doors 1.5 m high. The leather seat, upholstered by Poltrona Frau of Italy, is 35 in (89 cm) wide (with armrests up and 23 in (58 cm) wide when armrests are down) and a 23 in (58 cm) LCD TV screen is mounted on the front wall. The 78 in (200 cm) bed is separate from the seat and folds out from the back wall, with several other components of the suite lowering to accommodate the mattress. Windows are built into the doors and blinds offer privacy. Suites located in the center can form a double bed after the privacy blinds between them are retracted into special compartments between the beds and in the frame of the partition.

Boeing 777-300ER First Class

First class[edit]

There are three variations of the first class cabin, although the Singapore Airlines Suites class is designated by Singapore Airlines as a "Class Beyond First"[100] and uses a different fare code (R) (see above).

Introduced on 17 October 2006, the "New" First Class is offered only on Boeing 777-300 and Boeing 777-300ER aircraft. Designed by James Park Associates, it features a 35 in (89 cm) wide seat upholstered with leather and mahogany and a 23 in (58 cm) LCD screen. The seats fold out into a flat bed and are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration.

The First Class in 3-class-configured Boeing 777-200 features sleeper seats that are 21 in (53 cm) wide in a 2-2-2 configuration. It has a 10.4 inch display screen for IFE with AVOD technology. The first class product will be retired shortly in the third quarter of 2013, along with the withdrawal of all 3-class B777-200, awaiting on the delivery of the 24th A330 to Singapore Airlines and subject to regulatory approval.

The latest first class seat was introduced on 9 July 2013. Features include a 24-inch in-flight entertainment screen with video-touch screen handsets, adjustable in-seat lighting, and passenger control unit, inside a fixed-shell cabin with an 35 in (89 cm) wide seat, foldable into an 80 in (203 cm) bed.[99]

Boeing 777-300ER Business Class

Business class[edit]

Formerly known as Raffles Class until 2006, the Business Class on the Airbus A380, Airbus A340-500, Boeing 777-300ER, a fully flat bed is available in a 1-2-1 configuration featuring 30 in (76 cm) of seat width.[101] These seats are forward-facing, in contrast to the herring-bone configuration used by several other airlines offering flat beds in business class.[102] The leather seats feature a 15.4 in (39.1 cm) diagonal screen size personal television, in-seat power supply and 2 USB ports.[103] This seat is also being progressively introduced on Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.[104] The new Singapore Airlines business class (usually operating on the A380, A340 and 777-300ER aircraft) was voted the world's best business class by Skytrax in 2011.

On eight Airbus A380 aircraft, the first of which entered service in October 2011, Singapore Airlines extended the business class cabin to run the entire length of the upper deck, compared to the original configuration which shares the upper deck between 16 rows of business class and 11 rows of economy at the rear.[105]

New Regional Business Class is available on Airbus A330-300, Boeing 777-300 and select Boeing 777-200 aircraft, configured in 2-2-2 layout and with iPod connectivity. The Business Class seat is lie-flat at an 8-degree incline, featuring Krisworld on a 15.4 inch screen.[106]

SpaceBed seats are being progressively phased out and currently are available on three Boeing 777-200ER aircraft in a 2-2-2 configuration. The SpaceBed seats are 27 in (69 cm) wide and 72 in (183 cm) long and convert to an angled flat bed. They have a retractable 10.4 in (26.4 cm) personal television, and are being phased out in favor of New Business Class seats. Traditional Ultimo business class seats, which do not convert into beds, are offered on 7 Boeing 777-200 aircraft in a 2-3-2 configuration with an 8.4 inch screen.

A new design of Business Class seat was unveiled on July 9, 2013. Features include power socket and ports all in one panel, stowage beside the seat, two new seating positions and a 18-inch in-flight entertainment screen. The seat has a recline of 132 degrees and can be folded into an 78 in (198.1 cm) length bed.[99]

Economy class[edit]

Airbus A380-800 Economy Class

The old economy class seats in all 7 unrefitted Boeing 777-200s and 3 unrefitted Boeing 777-200ERs have VGA 6.1 inch personal television screens, footrests, adjustable headrests with side-flap "ears" and adjustable seat reclines. Baby bassinets are available at some bulkheads.[107] These older Economy Class seats with the Wisemen 3000 AVOD system were introduced with the Boeing 777-200ER in 1997, for use alongside the existing Economy Class seats with the non-AVOD KrisWorld (at that time on board the airline's Boeing 747-400s and A340-300s, having been introduced in 1995) and the older-generation early 1990s seats without KrisWorld (at that time on board the airline's A310-200s and A310-300s). After the first Boeing 777-200ER had been delivered on 5 May 1997, the updated Economy Class seat was installed in all subsequent aircraft deliveries (including newer -SP* series Boeing 747-400s), as well as in refitted existing Boeing 747-400s in late 1997 and early 1998.

The new Economy class seats on the Boeing 777-300ER, Airbus A380-800, and Airbus A330-300 are 19.5 in (50 cm) wide, have in-seat power and have a 10.6 inch personal television screen which has a non-intrusive reading light under it, which can be used by folding the screen outwards.[108] These are configured 3-4-3 on the lower deck of the Airbus A380, 3-3-3 on the Boeing 777, and 2-4-2 on the Airbus A330, as well as the upper deck of the Airbus A380.[109] Other features include an independent cup holder (separate from the fold-out table), a USB port, and a power socket, as well as an iPod port exclusively on board the Airbus A330.

Singapore Airlines introduced a similar design on board the Boeing 777 aircraft through their ongoing cabin retrofit program. The Boeing 777-300 is the first model to undergo refit and has introduced the product on the Singapore–Sydney route on 22 July 2009.[110] Equipped with bigger 9-inch screens and AVOD in each seat. The seats are installed onboard 11 B777-200s, 7 B777-300s and 8 B777-200ERs.

A redesign of the Economy Class seat was unveiled on July 9, 2013. Features include increased legroom, an adjustable headrest, and an 11.1 inch-touch screen inflight entertainment system which is also controllable with a video touch-screen handset.[99]

An appetiser served in Business Class

Catering[edit]

Singapore Airlines offers a wide array of food options on each flight. Regional dishes are often served on their respective flights, such as the Kyo-Kaiseki, Shi Quan Shi Mei, and Shahi Thali meals available for first class passengers on flights to Japan, China and India, respectively.

SIA has also introduced a Popular Local Fare culinary programme offering local favourites to passengers in all classes flying from selected major destinations.

They published a cookbook in 2010 titled, Above & Beyond: A Collection of Recipes from the Singapore Airlines Culinary Panel.[111]

Business and first class passengers may also choose to use the "Book the Cook" service on some flights, where specific dishes may be selected in advance from a more extensive menu.[112]

KrisWorld[edit]

KrisWorld logo

KrisWorld is Singapore Airlines' in-flight entertainment system, introduced in 1997 on Boeing 747-400, Airbus A310-300, Airbus A340-300 and Boeing 777-200 aircraft.[113] KrisFlyer overhauled Singapore Airlines' in-flight experience with a new, cheap entertainment solution that would supersede the very primitive Thales entertainment system on offer at that time by Virgin Atlantic and Emirates.

The original KrisWorld introduced 14 movies, 36 television programmes and 5 cartoons, as well as many Super Nintendo games, KrisFone and fax, text news and flight path in all classes. The original KrisWorld was subsequently upgraded to feature Wisemen 3000, an audio and video on-demand version of the KrisWorld system featuring exclusively in First and Raffles Class cabins, then progressively being introduced into Economy Class in 747 cabins and selected 777 cabins.[114]

In 2002, Singapore Airlines introduced a re-branding of the KrisWorld system. Named Enhanced KrisWorld, it featured additional movies, television programming, music and games, and was installed on Boeing 747-400 and selected Boeing 777-200 aircraft. Connexion by Boeing, an in-flight Internet service, was introduced in 2005. Live television streaming was proposed on Connexion, but this service was discontinued in December 2006. From October 2005, Singapore Airlines began offering complimentary language lessons by Berlitz.[115] and, starting December 2005, live text news feeds.[116]

In 2007, a new KrisWorld based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux was introduced, featuring a new interface, additional programming and audio and video on demand as standard. Widescreen personal video systems were installed in all cabins, including 23-inch LCD monitors in First Class, 15-inch monitors in Business Class, and 10.6-inch monitors in Economy Class.[117][118] The new KrisWorld is available on Airbus A330, Airbus A340, Airbus A380 and Boeing 777-300ER. Features include:

A $400 million brand new KrisWorld entertainment system was unveiled in 2012. This comes from a major deal with Panasonic Avionics, who will provide the latest Panasonic eX3 systems (SIA currently uses the eX2 system on most new aircraft). The eX3 system features larger screen with much higher resolution, wide touch screen controllers, new software, and, above all, in-flight connectivity. Singapore Airlines launched their in-flight connectivity in August 2012. Passengers are now able to make phone calls, send text messages and access the internet for a fee. The new eX3 systems will not be fully available until mid to late 2013. The airline hopes to introduce the new KrisWorld with the unveiling of the new cabin.[citation needed]

Singapore Airlines is one of only few airlines which have personal TVs in every class on every aircraft, with their last aircraft with no personal TV in every seat, Airbus A310-200, withdrawn in 2002.[citation needed]

Lounges[edit]

SilverKris Lounge[edit]

SilverKris Lounge in Terminal 3 at Changi Airport

The Silver Kris Lounge is Singapore Airlines premium lounge, available to departing Singapore Airlines Suites, First Class and Business Class passengers in addition to Solitaire PPS Club, PPS Club and KrisFlyer Elite Gold members travelling on Singapore Airlines. These lounges are located in the following locations:[119]

The SilverKris Lounges at Changi Airport are also open 24 hours and are also accessible to departing first class and business class passengers travelling on Star Alliance flights. They feature Internet workstations, wireless internet access, conference rooms, bars, restrooms, showers as well as dining and lounge areas.[120]

The Private Room[edit]

The Private Room opened on 1 July 2008 and is located in the First Class section of the SilverKris Lounge in Terminal 3 at Changi Airport. Originally for the exclusive use of full-fare Singapore Airlines Suites and first class passengers, the entry requirements were relaxed in 2009 to include access for all Suites and First Class passengers. It features a restaurant as well as two private rooms, as well as lounge facilities, business centre, and a buffet and dining room.[121]

KrisFlyer Gold Lounge[edit]

The KrisFlyer Gold Lounges are located in Terminal 2 and Terminal 3 of Changi Airport adjacent to the Silver Kris Lounges and are accessible by departing KrisFlyer Gold members as well as Star Alliance Gold members travelling in economy class on Singapore Airlines or other Star Alliance flights.[122] The KrisFlyer Gold Lounge features buffet and dining areas, televisions, lounge areas, Internet workstations as well as complimentary wireless internet, but unlike the SilverKris Lounge, does not feature bathrooms or showers.[123]

Frequent flyer programme[edit]

Singapore Airlines' frequent flyer programme, has two[124][125] categories:

KrisFlyer[edit]

Miles are earned and redeemed on Singapore Airlines own services as well as with Krisflyer partners. Partners include all Star Alliance members, SilkAir, Virgin Atlantic Virgin Australia, Air India, and numerous hotel chains and car-hire companies.[126] KrisFlyer is divided into KrisFlyer, KrisFlyer Elite Silver and KrisFlyer Elite Gold, which correspond to Star Alliance Silver and Gold, respectively.

Elite Silver[127] and Elite Gold[128] status is given to passengers who have accrued 25,000 and 50,000 miles (80,000 km), respectively, within a 12-month period. The 12-month period is predefined according to when a passenger initially applied for KrisFlyer membership, so travelling 25,000 miles (40,000 km) over a 12-month period may not qualify for Silver status unless it corresponds with the 12-month period assigned to them by Singapore Airlines.

Singapore Airlines flights in booking class G (group and promotional fares) and SilkAir flights in booking classes W and L earn no miles, while Singapore Airlines flights in booking classes V, Q, N and T (promotional fares) will receive between 10% to 50% of mileage[129][130]

The PPS Club[edit]

Priority Passenger Service (PPS)[131] is for passengers who have accumulated S$25,000 worth of PPS Value within a year.[132] PPS Value is accrued while flying Singapore Airlines Suites, First Class or Business Class on Singapore Airlines, or Business Class on SilkAir. The PPS is divided into the PPS Club, Solitaire PPS Club and the Solitaire PPS Club Life.[133]

A member with PPS Club status will qualify for Solitaire PPS Club by accumulating PPS Value of S$250,000 within five years.[133] The Solitaire Life PPS Club status was formerly given to members who accrued a total of 1,875,000 miles (3,018,000 km) or 1,000 PPS sectors. Benefits are equal to Solitaire PPS Club members but did not have a re-qualification criteria.[133] Singapore Airlines has since ceased accepting new Solitaire Life PPS Club members.[134]

All PPS members have priority check-in, baggage handling, guaranteed Economy Class seats when wait-listed on Business and First Class and have access to the business-class section of the Silver Kris Lounge. Solitaire PPS members and their spouses also access First Class check-in and the First Class sections of Silver Kris Lounge.[citation needed]

Incidents and accidents[edit]

Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-400 9V-SPK involved in Singapore Airlines Flight 006

This covers Singapore Airlines flights; for incidents relating to SilkAir see that article.

  • 26 March 1991 – Singapore Airlines Flight 117, an Airbus A310-300 was hijacked by Pakistani militants en route from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, where it was stormed by the Singapore Special Operations Force. All of the hijackers were killed in the operation, with no fatalities amongst the passengers and crew.
  • 21 July 1997 - a Singapore Airlines Learjet 31 9V-ATD plane carrying a trainee pilot and instructor travelling from Phuket to Ranong crashed into high terrain. The instructor misread the Ranong DME thereby causing the trainee pilot to descend below minimum altitude.
  • 31 October 2000 – Singapore Airlines Flight 006, a Boeing 747-400, crashed at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport (now Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport) in Taiwan killing 83 of the 179 onboard and injured a further 71 people after the aircraft took off on a closed runway that had no warning indications and hit construction equipment. This occurred during the heavy rain caused by Typhoon Xangsane. SQ006 was the first fatal crash of a Singapore Airlines aircraft and the first fatal crash of a Boeing 747-400. The accident aircraft 9V-SPK was painted in a "Tropical" promotional livery at the time of the accident.[135] After the accident, 9V-SPK's sister aircraft, 9V-SPL, the only other aircraft painted with the promotional livery, was immediately removed from service and repainted with standard Singapore Airlines livery.
  • 12 March 2003 – Singapore Airlines Flight 286, a Boeing 747-400 departing Auckland, New Zealand for Singapore suffered a serious tailstrike on take-off causing major damage to the tail section of the aircraft. The aircraft returned safely to Auckland.[136] The tail strike occurred because the rotation speed had been mistakenly calculated for an aircraft weighing 100 tonnes less than the actual weight of the aircraft.[137]

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External links[edit]