SIA to offer tours of training centre and dining on grounded A-380 jet
Airline drops idea criticised by environmentalists, announces initiatives such as tours of training centre and dining on grounded jet
Members of the public will be able to go behind the scenes at the Singapore Airlines (SIA) training centre, or have a meal on a grounded Airbus A-380 plane.
These new initiatives were announced by SIA yesterday, as the carrier seeks new ways to engage customers.
It also said that it will not be launching flights to nowhere.
The Straits Times had reported on Sept 11 that SIA was looking into launching such flights that would depart and land at Changi Airport.
But the idea was criticised by environmentalists, who said it would cause unnecessary pollution.
A movement to suggest alternatives quickly gained traction, with more than 2,000 ideas collated and submitted to SIA earlier this month.
SIA said it decided on its new offerings based on a market study and comprehensive review.
"(SIA) considered factors such as the attractiveness of the initiatives to SIA's customers and members of the public, the environmental implications, and their financial viability," it said.
"An idea for a one-off short tour flight, or a 'flight to nowhere', was also initially considered but not pursued after the review."
Its chief executive Goh Choon Phong said the initiatives will let SIA engage customers even as most flights remain grounded.
He also thanked those who had given feedback to SIA about its customer engagement initiatives.
"We are very encouraged by and grateful for the enthusiasm and passion that we have seen," he said.
Dr Boey Yew Tung, a senior lecturer at Nanyang Technological University's Nanyang Business School, said the new initiatives will bolster SIA's standing.
"Reinforcing brand awareness and recall are important tactics for companies especially when they cannot actively present themselves to the public when their regular mode of operations is severely curtailed," he said.
He added that the training centre tours will likely be especially popular, based on observations from air shows and other open-house tours.
But Associate Professor Nitin Pangarkar from the National University of Singapore Business School said none of the initiatives will significantly offset SIA's losses.
Ms Chevon Low, 30, a member of environmental non-profit organisation PM Haze, said she was very happy to hear of SIA's decision to avoid launching flights to nowhere.
Ms Low and three others had come up with suggesting alternatives, many of which were similar to the ones SIA is now launching.
She added: "SIA did make sustainability goals before the flights to nowhere proposal, so it's great to see they are committing to them.
"I would love to go for any of the experiences offered and we are sure they'll be very well-received."
Singapore Management University transport analyst Terence Fan said flights to nowhere would have given pilots much needed practice in handling planes, but he welcomed SIA's new initiatives.
He added: "I was hoping that they could do more on the ticketing front... I think if people are willing to book ahead, they ought to be rewarded a bit more."