Published on : Thursday, July 26, 2018
Singapore Airlines expects more passengers from India will use its Changi airport hub to fly to the West, buoyed by double-digit jump in flights from Indian metro cities to the Southeast Asian country over the last three years.
Singapore Airlines has increased its capacity to and from India by over 30% during the last five years, said David Lim, Singapore Airlines’ general manager for India. He said, however, the expansion is mostly on flights to smaller cities, as seat entitlements between Singapore and major Indian cities, under a bilateral Air Service Agreement, haven’t been revised since 2013. Lim said that the Middle Eastern airlines like Emirates have three times more (seat) rights than us, so the authorities are constrained. During the last three years, Singapore Airlines has seen a double-digit growth, over 10%, from its India operations,” he said. “The seat entitlement should be increased accordingly.”
Singapore Airlines can currently operate 6,000 seats per week from Indian cities like Delhi and Mumbai each. Overall, it can operate up to 28,600 seats. Indian airlines meanwhile have 29,300 seats allotted per week to Singapore.
Lim said Singapore Airlines will continue to add capacity on flights to the smaller cities in India until it receives more seat allocations for the major cities. Though many Indians flying to Singapore use it as a transit to other destinations such as Australia, Far East Asia, US and Europe. Several others also travel to Singapore round the year. According to Singapore Tourism board, 1.27 million Indians visited the country in 2017.
Singapore Airlines hopes to lure the Indian flyers flying to the West – Europe and North America as the airline increases flights to North America. The airline flies to North America non-stop and one-stop via Pacific Ocean, Atlantic Ocean and over the North Pole, depending on the time of the year. The carrier currently has flights from major cities such as Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad, Hyderabad, Kochi and Amritsar. It’s no-frills subsidiary Scoot flies to cities such as Chennai, Amritsar, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi, Trichy and Lucknow.
Meanwhile, Silk Air, another Singapore Airline subsidiary, which will be merged with the parent airline in 2020, flies to and from cities such as Visakhapatnam, Coimbatore, Kochi, Trivandrum, Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
The airline will meanwhile Boeing 777 with Boeing 787-10 Dreamliner aircraft on the Delhi-Singapore route from October as part of its plan to increase the total capacity between the two cities by about 10%. The airline flies 17-times a week from Mumbai to Singapore, using the Airbus 380 and Airbus 350 on the route during the weekdays and a Boeing 777 during the weekend. Today, a large number of Indians prefer to travel to the west, including Europe and North America, by middle-eastern carriers like Emirates, Etihad, and Qatar Airways.
The authorities of SA plan to convince the Indian flyers that are flying to Europe and US through middle-eastern destinations to fly through Singapore, said an airline executive with an Indian carrier who didn’t want to be named.