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Based at Singapore Changi Airport, Singapore Airlines is the national carrier of Singapore. Using a fleet of wide-body Boeing and Airbus aircraft, including the A380 of which Singapore Airlines was the launch customer, Singapore Airlines operates an extensive network across Asia, North America, Australasia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Singapore Airlines joined the Star Alliance on 01-Apr-2000.
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2,509 total articles
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Singapore Airlines (SIA) has moved one step closer to merging short haul LCC Tigerair and medium/long haul LCC Scoot by creating a new holding company for its two budget airline subsidiaries. Scoot and Tigerair will remain separate airlines for now, with their own operator certificates, but will have a new joint management team led by the Tigerair CEO, Lee Lik Hsin.
The establishment of Budget Aviation Holdings facilitates further integration and will unlock more synergies, particularly on the cost side, as overlapping functions are eliminated. The outlook for Tigerair and Scoot, both of which are now profitable, further brightens as the two integrate but there are still challenges to overcome – including potential overcapacity.
A merger is likely to eventuate but is difficult to implement at this juncture. The anticipated rebranding of Tigerair Australia by Virgin Australia and Tigerair Taiwan by China Airlines should make it easier for the SIA Group to transition to a single LCC brand, with Scoot the likely surviving brand.
The evolving Singapore Airlines (SIA) partnership strategy has reached another milestone with a new codeshare agreement with United Airlines. While SIA and United are longstanding members of the Star Alliance, their relationship has never been close and involved any codesharing.
SIA and United stated in a 9-May-2016 application with the US Department of Transportation they intend to start codesharing on 1-Jul-2016. Initially the codeshare includes eight United-operated domestic routes beyond Houston. However, the two airlines are seeking blanket codeshare approval, which would enable potential future extensions to cover United-operated flights beyond SIA’s other US gateways, SIA-operated flights beyond Singapore and their flights in the US-Singapore market.
United is launching non-stop flights to Singapore in Jun-2016 while SIA is planning to resume non-stop flights to the US in 2018. United and SIA are fierce competitors across the Pacific but the new codeshare could open the door to a broader and potentially game changing partnership. SIA has been actively seeking new or enhanced partnerships, an initiative that has already resulted in new joint ventures with Star members Air New Zealand and Lufthansa.
The Lufthansa Group is taking measures across its three full service brands to recalibrate in East Asia, its second largest long haul market by ASKs after North America - and with the highest growth potential. Hong Kong has been the group's de facto hub, historically, despite the lack of a Star Alliance partner. JVs are forming with Star partners Singapore Airlines and Air China, and the Hong Kong hub will diminish in importance. This will take time: JVs with Singapore Airlines and Air China are evolving slowly, with the Asian party being conservative compared with the more experienced Lufthansa.
The JVs will enable the Lufthansa Group to fill white spots (Malaysia, Indonesia) and improve offline connections; Australia is the group's largest offline market. Many of these opportunities are markets where Gulf airlines have already dominated the market. Lufthansa has an existing JV with ANA: 17% of East Asian seats are covered under a JV. After the Air China and SIA JVs come into force this figure will rise to 64% – still less than JV coverage in North America.
Thai Airways will enter a new phase over the next year as it completes its transformation plan and starts to consider potential options for resuming expansion. Regional international growth is the most logical area to focus on, using the group’s full service short haul subsidiary Thai Smile.
Thai Smile currently only serves four international destinations. As Thai Airways mainline transitions to an all-widebody fleet the group will need a much larger international network from Thai Smile.
Thai Airways should also examine better integration of Thai Smile, following the model used by Singapore Airlines (SIA) with its full service regional subsidiary SilkAir. The current setup, including separate reservation systems and sales teams, is far from ideal and must be improved in order for the Thai Airways Group to close the gap with the SIA Group in key markets such as China, India and ASEAN.
Air France-Singapore Airlines partnership talks highlight lack of Gulf airline penetration in France
The growth of Gulf airlines continues to force competitors to innovate and adapt to the new market, sometimes forgoing long-standing partnerships and business views. The next response may be a partnership between Air France and Singapore Airlines, the two of which are reportedly in talks.
Such a partnership would be symbolically significant. Both are anchor members of opposite alliances – Star and SkyTeam – and are bitter about the growth of Gulf airlines. Air France is boisterous in its remarks while Singapore Airlines keeps complaints out of the public space. Air France has not been silenced by a partnership with Etihad; one that appears to have never been fully consummated. Singapore Airlines’ Air France talks come at the same time as SIA plans to implement a JV with the Lufthansa Group.
The view from SIA appears to be that France is a significant market, and connections from Lufthansa Group hubs are not sufficient. As Air France and SIA move towards a partnership, Gulf airlines continue to be denied French traffic rights: they have one quarter as many flights to France as to the UK. Air France has cut Southeast Asia capacity but KLM has grown, indicating that the group is seeking new strategic solutions.
Scoot and Tigerair drive Singapore Airlines Group expansion in China; 14 new destinations in 5 years
The Singapore Airlines (SIA) Group is pursuing further expansion in China, which is already the group’s single largest market and perhaps strategically – its most important. Tigerair’s 28-Apr-2016 launch of services to Wuxi gives the SIA Group 23 scheduled destinations in mainland China.
SIA now has more Chinese destinations than the rival group Cathay Pacific, and more than any foreign airline group outside North Asia. Five years ago the SIA Group had only nine Chinese destinations.
Over the last four years SIA has grown capacity to China by approximately 50%, with nearly all the growth generated by its LCC subsidiaries Scoot and Tigerair. SIA currently only has slightly less capacity to China than Southeast Asia’s leading LCC group – AirAsia. Cathay Pacific, AirAsia, Asiana and Korean Air are the only foreign airline groups that are now larger in China than SIA.