Singapore Airlines

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Singapore Airlines Limited (Abbreviated: SIA; Chinese: 新加坡航空公司, Pinyin: Xīnjīapō Hángkōng Gōngsī, abbreviated: 新航) Template:Airline codes Template:Sgx is the national airline of Singapore, and the leading and founding entity of the Singapore Airlines Group of companies. One of Asia's most influential and successful airlines, it has a presence in most parts of Asia and Oceania, as well as having major operations in Europe and North America.

Operational members of the Singapore Airlines Group, such as its regional and whole-owned subsidiary, Silkair manages flights to secondary cities with smaller capacity requirements, particularly those in Southeast Asia, China and India, paying particular attention to the needs of business and leisure travellers. Since 2001, air freight operations were also hired off to a separate subsidiary, Singapore Airlines Cargo, which took over the entire freighter fleet from SIA, as well as management of the cargo holds in passenger-cargo aircraft. A more recent addition was low-cost Tiger Airways, which marked the group's maiden entry into the low-cost segment of the aviation industry.

Collectively, Singapore Airlines Group is the world's second largest carrier by market capitalisation, only trailing behind Southwest Airlines of USA. In addition, Singapore Airlines ranks amongst the global top 15 in terms of revenue passenger kilometres according to Air Transport World.



Early History

The history of Singapore Airlines begins with the the incorporation of Malayan Airways Limited (MAL) on October 12, 1937, by the Ocean Steamship Company of Liverpool, the Straits Steamship Company of Singapore and Imperial Airways(BOAC/BA). Its first flight was between Kuala Lumpur and the British Straits Settlement of Singapore on 1 May 1947 using an Airspeed Consul twin-engined airplane.

The remainder of the 1940s was a growth period for MAL, as was the 1950s as the other British Commonwealth airlines (such as BOAC/BA, Quantas) provided technical and other assistance, including in joining IATA. By 1955, Malayan Airlines' fleet had grown to include a large number of Douglas DC-3s. And by 1957, MAL became a PLC.

When Malaya had a change of name to Malaysia in 1963 (to reflect the insertion of the then colonies of Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak, into the Federation) the airline name was similarly changed, from "Malayan Airways" to "Malaysian Airlines" (still MAL). MAL also took over Borneo Airways although Brunei remained a British colony until 1984.

1966 and 1967, saw several changes including :

  • another name change, this time to "Malaysia-Singapore Airlines" (MSA) to reflect that Singapore was no longer a State of Malaysia but an independant country
  • rapid fleet and route expansion with MSA's first few Boeing 707s
  • new high rise HQ in Robinson Road, Singapore.

MSA ceased operations in 1972, when political disagreements between Singapore and Malaysia resulted in the formation of two new airlines: Singapore Airlines and Malaysia Airlines. Singapore airlines kept the 10 Boeing aircraft of 737s and 707s (being all the Boeing jets in MSA), all international routes out of Singapore, the corporate headquarters in Robinson Road and the hostesses continued to wear the sarong kebaya dress, which had previously been used by MSA.

Singapore Airlines actively cultivates and promotes the image of the 'Singapore Girl' in its advertising, and aggresively recruits young women who fit the bill. (does not have to be Singaporean)

Modern History
Singapore Airlines Boeing 747-412

Singapore Airlines saw rapid growth. during the 1970s, adding many cities in the Indian subcontinent and Asia to the 22 city network it already served, and acquiring Boeing 747 airplanes. During the 1980s, the United States, Canada, and many European cities joined Singapore Airlines' route map. During this time, Madrid became the first and only Hispanic city to be served by Singapore Airlines. In the 1990s, Singapore Airlines began flights to Johannesburg in South Africa, the first African destination for the airline, with the cities of Cape Town and Durban being added.

During the 1990s, Singapore Airlines licenced model aeroplane companies like Schabak, Wooster plastic aeroplanes, Herpa Wings and many others, to manufacture promotional plane models for them. Their Boeing 747's became known as the Megatops, and they ordered Boeing 777 and Airbus equipment to complement the Megatops.

In 2004, Singapore Airlines began long-haul flights from Singapore to Los Angeles International Airport in California and Newark Liberty International Airport in Newark, New Jersey. This marked the first ever non-stop air service between Singapore and the United States of America, using the A340-500 aircrafts named "LeaderShip".

In 2005, the airline unveiled the advertising campaign, "First To Fly In 2006", to promote itself as the world's first airline to take delivery of the A380-800 double-decker super jumbo, due to take in the 2nd quarter of 2006 on Singapore–London, Singapore–Sydney. However, Airbus has announced that due to technical delays, the giant aircraft will be delayed for up to six months. SIA's CEO, Chew Choon Seng, was furious over the delay and threatened that SIA might sue Airbus. In addition to this, he claimed that SIA will be receiving the Boeing 777-300ER before the Airbus A380. Despite all these, SIA has said that this would not affect its promotional campaign. (See [1])

Incidents and Accidents

  • On 26 March 1991, Singapore Airlines Flight 117, piloted by Captain Stanley Lim on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, was hijacked in mid-flight by four Pakistanis, led by Zahid Hussain Soomro, who demanded that the plane be flown to Sydney. The crisis ended at Singapore Changi Airport, where all four were killed by Singapore Armed Forces Commandos, with none of the 123 passengers and crew suffering injury or death.

Despite these incidents, the airline was Asia's first and the world's third airline to be accredited by IATA with the IOSA (IATA Operations Safety Audit), and continues to be regarded as one of the world's safest.

Awards and accolades

Main article: Singapore Airlines awards and accolades

Singapore Airlines is a top airline in terms of customer service and satisfaction, and has won a large number of awards and accolades over the years. It is considered to be the world's most awarded airline.

Subsidiaries and Alliances

Singapore Airlines is a member of the Star Alliance, which it joined in April 2000. It owns a 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic Airways, the transaction being completed on 30 March 2000. The airline also owns a 49% stake in Tiger Airways, a low-cost carrier flying from Singapore. Silkair is a wholy-owned subsidiary serving new destinations in Asia and regional connections using Singapore as a hub.

Singapore Airlines owns 4.5% of Air New Zealand (down from 25% after the New Zealand government bought into the airline to rescue it from bankruptcy).

The Singapore Airlines Group consists over 50 subsidiaries and associates, including:

Code Sharing

The airline has code-share agreements with the following airlines:

Singapore Airlines Cargo also code-shares with Japan Airlines and Scandinavian Airlines System.


Main article: Singapore Airlines fleet

Singapore Airlines operates one of the newest fleets in Asia. Its fleet features aircraft from 3 aircraft families, including Boeing 747 (Code name Megatop), Boeing 777 (Code name Jubilee), and Airbus A340 (Code name LeaderShip).

It is the launch customer for the Airbus A380-800, and will be the first airline in the world to operate it when it comes into service in December 2006. It has 10 of these aircraft on order and options on a further 15 aircraft. It plans to introduce it on its Kangaroo route services from Sydney to London via its base at Changi Airport (ref: Airliner World, March 2005).

Current fleet by aircraft size (as of July, 2005)

Aircraft Engine Operation Order Option Type Seat Configuration
Airbus A340-541 Rolls-Royce Trent 553 5 0 0 Ultra long haul J64/Y117(181)
Airbus A380-841 Rolls-Royce Trent 900 0 10 15 Long haul  
Boeing 747-412 Pratt & Whitney PW4056 27 0 0 Long haul P12/J50/Y310(372), P12/J50/Y313(375)
Boeing 777-212ER Rolls-Royce Trent 884 17 0 0 Medium haul J30/Y293(323)
Boeing 777-212ER Rolls-Royce Trent 884 14 0 0 Medium haul P12/J42/Y234(288)
Boeing 777-212ER Rolls-Royce Trent 892 15 0 0 Long haul J30/Y255(285)
Boeing 777-312 Rolls-Royce Trent 892 12 0 0 Medium haul P18/J49/Y265(332)
Boeing 777-312ER General Electric GE90-115B 0 19 13 Long haul  
Total   90 29 28    


  • Contrary to popular belief, all of Singapore Airlines' 777-212s are the Extended Range (ER) models; featuring centre fuel tanks for maximum storage. The airline however chooses to only refer to the 9V-SV* registered series of aircraft as 777-200ERs as those planes are certified to 656,000 lb (298,000 kg) Maximum Takeoff Weights (MTOWs) and fly the longer intercontinental routes. The 9V-SR* and 9V-SQ* registered aircraft feature derated engines which can be electronically reprogrammed to produce more thrust and thus operate longer flights at higher MTOWs if ever needed.
  • 6 of the Boeing 747-400s were withdrawn from regular operation since the SARS crisis in the year 2003. Another 2 will be withdrawn later, and all 8 will be sold to two airlines from the year 2006 to 2008, after being converted into freighters. There is a possibility they may be transferred to Singapore Airlines Cargo, as an addition to its strong 14 B747-412F fleet dubbed MegaArk.
  • The Boeing 777 planes on order/option can be for any model in the aircraft family type (except for the Boeing 777-300ER, which were part of a separate order signed in August 2004)
  • The airline has a history of dubbing its fleet according to plane makes. The existing 29 Boeing 747-400s are dubbed "Megatop", while the 55 Boeing 777s are called "Jubilee". The 5 Airbus A340-500s were named "Leadership," but that has since been dropped.
  • Its A340 aircraft are equipped with special cupboards big enough to take a corpse in case any passengers die en route. [2]
  • British Airways, for a short period of time, flew a Concorde (registered G-BOAD) that had Singapore Airlines' livery on one side, and British Airways' logo on the other. The aircraft was operated by BA pilots, and staffed with flight attendants from both airlines, flying between Singapore and London via Bahrain.
  • Singapore Airlines is the largest Boeing 777 operator in the world with 57 in service and options for more.
  • Singapore Airlines has a in-flight entertainment system, KrisWorld, which screens the latest movies and includes Nintendo games. Each seat has it own personal television.

Krisworld has recently been upgraded in all classes to feature On-demand video and audio, where each user can select any particular film or television programme from the considerably large inflight library at any time, and can pause, rewind and fast forward through it from their in seat video controller and personal screen. (Previously all airline inflight entertainment was limited to either a single large screen playing a film for the entire cabin, or users given a selection of channels that would all start and end simultaneously, usually soon after take off, with no control given to the user.

  • Singapore Airlines is known in the industry as being the first to launch new in-flight entertainment features, such as Nintendo or movies on demand. Their primary in-flight entertainment supplier is Panasonic Avionics Corporation
  • Their First Class Skysuites have 14 inch televisions and Business class (Raffles Class) seats are called Spacebeds with 180° recline.
  • Starting in 2005, Singapore Airlines will begin integrating wireless broadband for all classes on selected flights. As of August 2005, this facility is only available on flights to London and New York.

Flight Numbers

Main article: Singapore Airlines flight numbers

Generally, flight numbers are allocated according to geographical regions:


Main article: Singapore Airlines destinations

Events in 2005

  • On 1 June 2005, flights to Beijing were increased to 3 times daily.The airline also added flights to Mumbai, increasing them to twice daily.
  • Attempts to fly the trans-Pacific route between Sydney and Los Angeles were put on hold indefinitely after the Australian government said that it needed more time to make a decision.
  • CEO Chew Choon Seng was reportedly "furious" with Airbus over its delays in delivering the A380 airliner and was said to be considering a suit for damages. He told a German weekly Focus On Saturday in an interview that the A380 would not be delivered until November 2006. He said that the aging 747-400s would have to be kept flying longer and that the delays had "greatly upset our forecasts with regard to capacity", additionally causing disruptions in training flight crew and engineers. A clause in the sales contract allows SIA to seek damages for late delivery. The company will now focus on delivery of 19 Boeing 777-300ER since the 777 will be delivered earlier than than the Airbus aircraft.

Currently, SIA is in talks with Airbus for compensation over the delays of delivering the A380. The airline's Vice-President for Public Affairs said that this was the best option, yet would not rule out a lawsuit against Airbus. SIA is not giving any details but earlier reports have said that it was seeking more than US$6 million in compensation. One of the issues that SIA will face is how to handle higher passenger loads during the affected period. The airline may have to extend the lease of its 747s until the arrival of the A380.

  • On August 152005, Virgin Atlantic, which flies the Kangaroo route between Australia and the UK via Hong Kong, denied it was in talks with part owner Singapore Airlines about extending its code sharing arrangements from Singapore to Sydney. Virgin Atlantic, 49% owned by Singapore Airlines, began flying between Sydney and the UK via Hong Kong in December. The London-Heathrow to Hong Kong route is generally doing well but not the Hong Kong-Sydney sector.

External links

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