SIA Says Fleet, Cabin Products Will Reinforce Its Post-Pandemic Lead
SINGAPORE—While Singapore Airlines (SIA) is currently contending with Pratt & Whitney PW1000G engine issues and OEM delivery delays, the airline is confident its fleet and cabin product will help maintain its post-pandemic recovery lead.
Speaking to media ahead of the Association of Asia Pacific Airlines general assembly here in Singapore, the flag-carrier’s CEO Goh Choon Phong says while SIA was first “off the block” as the pandemic recovery began, he acknowledges that its lead will diminish as competition ramps up capacity. The chief executive believes, however, that SIA’s product offerings will keep the carrier at the top of the pack.
Goh adds it is “unfortunate” that the Boeing 777-9 program was delayed by two years, but he says the 777-9 cabin product will be “industry leading” based on current observation. SIA placed an order for 31 of the new widebodies to replace the 777-300ER.
His sentiment is echoed by SIA Chief Commercial Officer Lee Lik Hsien, who adds that from a widebody fleet perspective, SIA is one of only a few airlines that provides full lie-flat business class product and Wi-Fi connectivity across the fleet.
Similarly, once SIA sheds its 737-800s in the next two years, the entire fleet will feature a consistent lie-flat business class product.
The fleet product revamp is also one of the major factors in why SIA has not returned to 100% capacity.
SIA LCC subsidiary Scoot is currently contending with two Airbus A320neo groundings after four PW1000G engines were removed from the aircraft for preemptive checks. Scoot CEO Lesile Thng says the engines were sent for inspection in the August-September period and is looking to get one aircraft back into the air by the end of November.
The group also adds that Scoot will have the flexibility to extend leases of current A320s to cover any shortfalls in capacity. Scoot is expected to return five A320ceos, but Thng says it is reviewing whether it will extend the leases for three of the type that are due to be returned.
SIA is expected to take delivery of three 787-10s in the remainder of fiscal 2023/24, which ends March 31, 2024. There are no signs of the carrier receiving any 737-8s—a delay that has affected numerous airlines.
Goh adds that when the new Changi Terminal 5 is completed in the mid-2030s, SIA will increase its fleet and capacity accordingly—although it is still too early to tell how many additional aircraft will be added to the fleet. Terminal 5 will eventually boost Changi’s annual handling capacity by 50 million.