Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced more cost-cutting measures with the double whammy of withdrawing First Class seating on all flights between Singapore and Bangkok from June 1 as well as stopping four of its weekly 14 non-stop, Business-Class-only flights to Los Angeles and New York.
Although not many regional travellers may have splashed out on First Class, the service benefitted those long-haul premium passengers who were transferring in Singapore for destinations further afield.
Lately, those 100-seat Airbus A340-500 featuring all Business seats have been observed to have suffered drastically lowered passenger loads, which The Straits Times estimated at “70 percent”. Between February 17 and March 25, there will be no flights on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
The frequency reductions come after SIA recently announced it was cutting services to London as well as on regional sectors until the end of March
Since last year, aviation bodies such as the International Air Transport Association and Centre for Asia-Pacific Aviation have been predicting the economic downturn would have noticeable impact on business travel and the usage of First and Business Class services, not sparing even well operated airline companies like SIA.
Previously, the SIA spokesperson said their current strategy was normal “during periods of lower demand”, while adding frequencies when demand was on the rise.
On a more positive note, Singapore and Iceland inked an open skies agreement, which allows their airlines to operate flights between and beyond both countries, as well as via an intermediate point. There are no restrictions on capacity, frequency or aircraft type.
It also permits “hubbing rights”, which means that SIA could base its aircraft in Iceland to fly to third countries. The same goes for Iceland.
For more details, visit www.singaporeair.com.
Alex McWhirter and Margie T Logarta