Singapore Airlines has come a long way since it was founded in 1972, evolving from a regional airline to one of the most respected travel brands around the world. Today, it operates one of the youngest aircraft fleets in the world to destinations spanning a network spread over six continents, with the Singapore Girl as an internationally recognizable icon providing the high standards of care and service that customers have come to expect of them. It ranks among the top 15 carriers worldwide in terms of revenue passenger kilometers, and 10th in the world for international passengers carried. On 15 December 2010, Singapore Airlines was announced by the International Air Transport Association as the second largest airline in the world by market capitalization with a worth of USD 14 billion.
High Standards Of Care & Service
Singapore Airlines is a global company dedicated to providing air transportation services of the highest quality and to maximizing returns for the benefit of its shareholders and employees. Their history can be traced back to May the 1st, 1947, when a Malayan Airways Limited (MAL) Airspeed Consul took off from Singapore Kallang Airport on the first of three scheduled flights a week to Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang. Over the next five years, larger capacity DC-3 aircraft were introduced. This meant faster and more comfortable flights, and the extension of services to destinations in Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma (now Myanmar), North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak. In-flight refreshments improved from the original thermos flask of iced water to sandwiches, biscuits and cold cuts plus a choice of hot and cold drinks, and alcoholic beverages served by a lone hostess. Known as “female pursers”, these hostesses are the forerunners of today’s Singapore Girl.
Singapore Airlines flies to 62 destinations in 35 countries on six continents from its primary hub in Singapore. It has a strong presence in the Southeast Asian region, which together with its subsidiary SilkAir, connects Singapore with more international destinations in the region than any other Southeast Asian airline. Singapore Airlines operates an all wide-body aircraft fleet from three aircraft families; Airbus A330, Airbus A380, and Boeing 777, totaling 106 aircraft at 31 July 2014. In keeping with its policy of maintaining a young fleet, it renews its fleet frequently.
The Road To Success
Branding and publicity efforts have revolved primarily around flight crew, in contrast to most other airlines, who tend to emphasize aircraft and services in general. In particular, the promotion of its female flight attendants known as Singapore Girls has been widely successful and is a common feature in most of the airline’s advertisements and publications. This branding strategy aims to build a mythical aura around the Singapore Girl, and portray her as representative of Asian hospitality and grace and the airline’s training program for both cabin and technical flight crew complement this objective. This is similar to the tactics that Pan Am used as they also tried to promote their stewardesses as a big attraction to flying on the airline. Dressed in a version of the Malay Sarong Kebaya designed by Pierre Balmain in 1968, the uniform of the Singapore Girl has remained largely unchanged. Stewards previously wore light-blue business jackets and grey trousers. Since June 2008, this has been redesigned by Christophe Galibert, artistic Director of Balmain Uniformes. The new steward’s uniform now features a single-breasted navy blue suit (jacket and trousers), a sky blue shirt and different colored striped ties. The tie colors differentiate the four ranks of cabin crew: in-flight supervisor, chief, leading steward and stewardess. Although a successful marketing image for the airline, the “Singapore Girl” emphasis received criticisms for its portrayal of women as subservient to males. Feminist groups say that its cultural references are outdated and that most Singaporean women today are modern and independent.
‘The Singapore Girl’-Innovative Promotions
The livery of Singapore Airlines includes the “bird” (also known as the Silver Kris) logo on the tailfin, which has remained unchanged since Singapore Airlines’ inception, but the logotype and stripes used since 1972 were changed in 1988 to the ones still in use today. The livery had a recent change, which saw the “Singapore Airlines” logotype enlarged and moved towards the front, and in addition the “bird” logo on the tail fin enlarged, in a similar fashion to the livery variant used on the Airbus A380, but the stripes and the “bird” remain the same.
The airline has been the main sponsor of the Singapore Airlines International Cup, a group 1 flat horse race, since its inception in 2000. In April 2014, they announced that it has signed an agreement with the Formula One Group to be the Title Sponsor of the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix, taking over from Singtel. The airline has had its share of my ‘firsts’ in its category, some of those illustrious highlights are remembered as the first to introduce free headsets, a choice of meals and free drinks for the economy class in the 1970s. The airline was also the first to introduce satellite based inflight telephones in 1991, also the first to offer audio and video on demand (AVOD) capabilities on “KrisWorld” in all classes in October 2001.
- Singapore Airlines maintains a modern fleet of 105 aircraft (19 Airbus A380s). As of 1 January 2015, the average age of their fleet stands at seven years and one month-making it one of the world’s youngest and most fuel efficient.
- Firsts: First to offer free headsets, a choice of meals and free drinks in Economy Class, in the 1970s and first to offer audio and video on demand (AVOD) capabilities on KrisWorld in all classes in October 2001.
- Singapore Airlines’ success has been fueled by its dedication to customer service leading to the Conde Nast Traveler’s ‘World’s Best Airline’ award for the 23rd time, Travel + Leisure Magazine’s “World’s Best International Airline” award for 16 consecutive years and Wall Street Journal “Asia’s Most Admired Company” award for 18 consecutive years.