Aviation: Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines (SIA) has come a long way since being founded on May 1, 1947 as Malayan Airways. T he airline’s first flight was from Singapore’s Kallang Airport to Kuala Lumpur, using a solitary Airspeed AS 65 Consul, on a three-times-a-week service. In 1967, by now a jet operator, the airline became Malaysia-Singapore Airlines and today’s airline was created in 1972 when the company was divided in to Malaysian Airlines System (MAS) and Singapore Airlines.
Today’s airline is now a world-class carrier that consistently wins acclaim for its service and reliability. Its success was built on the Boeing 747, the first going into service in 1972. This was the 747-200 and since then, the airline has operated the -300 and -400, the first of which was delivered in 1989. By 2003, SIA had more of the -400 than any other airline, with 39 passenger aircraft and 12 freighters. Like most long-haul carriers, the 747-400 has now been retired from passenger service, the final departure from Singapore in 2012 being given a commemorative flight number, SQ747 for a flight to Hong Kong. The return service used the number SQ748 and the airline’s executive vice president commercial, Mak Swee Wah, said: ‘The 747 was truly the jewel in our fleet for nearly four decades, and we would not be the airline we are today if we had not made the bold decision to purchase this iconic jetliner.’
Many of SIA’s services today are operated using the Airbus A380, and the airline accepted the first to be delivered to any airline on October 15, 2007. With a long-standing policy of operating a young fleet (of all types), on December 13, 2017 the airline took delivery of the first of five new A380s, which will replace the first five delivered ten years earlier. The Boeing 777 also features heavily in the company’s route structure and in October 2017 placed an order for 20 777-900s.
Singapore Airlines has also invested heavily in both the Boeing 787-10 and the Airbus A350 and included in an order for 67 A350-900s are seven of the Ultra Long Range (ULR) version, which are used to operate the world’s longest non-stop flight, from Singapore to Newark, New York. Aimed primarily at the business market, the 10,300-mile service began on 11 October 2018n leaving Singapore at 2337hrs (SIN time) and arrived at Newark Liberty International Airport a day later, at 0529hrs (US Eastern time). The flight duration was 17 hours 52 minutes.
The aircraft is also used for non-stop flights between Singapore and Los Angeles, which began on 2 November 2018, as well as to increase services on the existing Singapore-San Francisco route. By the end of the year, SIA had 27 non-stop flights per week between Singapore and the United States.
The carrier has won numerous awards over the years and even published its own cookbook in 2010, Above and Beyond: A Collection of Recipes from the Singapore Airlines International Culinary Panel and for the second year running has been named Best Airline in the World by renowned travel site TripAdvisor for the second consecutive year.
“We are very pleased to be back-to-back winner of the Best Airline in the World accolade in these prestigious awards,” said Singapore Airlines CEO, Mr Goh Choon Phong. "We wish to thank our customers for their ongoing support, as well as our staff from all around the world who go the extra mile every day to deliver the best travel experience to our customers.”
Winners of the Travellers’ Choice Awards for Airlines 2019 were selected based on reviews by global travellers focusing on outstanding service, quality and value. TripAdvisor uses an algorithm that takes into account the quantity and quality of airline reviews and ratings over a 12-month period to determine the award recipients.
The airline flies almost 900 flights a week from its base at Singapore’s Changi Airport, itself an award-winning air transport hub and its commitment to quality has seen it remain one of the world’s leading airlines.
Text © Kevan James, photos © Fay Johnson and Singapore Airlines