By the end of October, we could see Singapore Airlines take off once again on commercial flights. These flights aim to ferry domestic passengers on destination-free journeys. Dubbed “flights to nowhere”, these are supposed to take off from Changi Airport and land there three hours later.
With borders still closed for leisure travel, such flights will help generate revenue for the ailing airline, especially after reporting a loss of US $ 1 billion for the first quarter of the financial year. The number of passenger carriers was also down 99.5% for the flag carrier.
To make flights more attractive, it could be bundled with lodging options, limo rides, and airport shopping vouchers, Bloomberg reports.
75% are willing to pay for direct flights to nowhere
Singapore Air Charter Director Stefan Wood is confident the flights will be in high demand. As quoted by The Straits Times, his company conducted a survey which revealed that 75% of respondents were willing to pay a fee to sit on SIA once again.
Nearly half are willing to shell out SG $ 288 ($ 210) for an economy class seat, while 40% see SG $ 588 ($ 430) as a fair amount for a business class seat.
Wood’s company was previously in talks with Singapore Airlines to deliver these flights to nowhere in a collaborative manner. However, SIA has expressed an interest in conducting the flights alone, which Wood accepts. He told The Straits Times,
“For me, it’s about the Singapore economy and the return of money in the industry.”
SIA could also explore a partnership with the country’s Tourism Board to allow potential passengers to pay for flights via tourist credits. Those credits were introduced after Singapore’s tourism industry took a hit amid the pandemic. The government aims to reignite the industry by encouraging residents to explore the country, through its SingapoRediscovers campaign, which includes tourism coupons.
Simple Flying has contacted Singapore Airlines for details on its non-destination flights. We will update the article once we receive a reply.
Tourist flights are popular in the midst of the pandemic
Flights to nowhere have been gaining popularity in recent months. Airlines have been extremely creative in marking these flights as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
For Starlux Airlines, a Taiwanese carrier, it branded its non-destination flights as an opportunity for “Fly to the Moon”. Specifically, the flights, which will take place on 1 and 2 October, aim to take passengers on a journey “close to the moon”.
Another Taiwanese airline EVA Air chose to operate a celebratory flight last month for Father’s Day. The flight in particular, which sent travelers across Taiwan, took place aboard EVA Air’s exclusive A330-300 Hello Kitty.
In addition to giving travelers the ability to fly again, such an experience allows the aircraft once on the ground to pump the engines once again, eliminating the need for significant maintenance.
This is exactly what the Japanese airline ANA has done with its Airbus A380s. ANA performed Hawaiian-themed sightseeing flights on its “Flying Honu” plane. The 90-minute flight took place on August 22, with 334 passengers on board. The passengers were selected through a lottery.
BOTH to become smaller
Beaten by the pandemic, SIA has had to make serious changes to its company. Earlier this week, the airline made headlines for cutting 15% of its workforce between Singapore Airlines, Scoot and SilkAir. It is estimated that around 2,400 of its employees will be laid off, while the remaining 1,900 will retire from the airline due to hiring freezes or voluntary departures.
In addition, the flag carrier aims to significantly reduce its fleet. The SIA Group has a total of 220 aircraft, with all of its 19 A380s on the ground. That airlines said goodbye to this giant in 2020, with Air France scrapping all of its A380s in June.
Removal of the A380s will help SIA cut costs. As for its older aircraft, SIA’s Boeing 777s may also be excluded from the fleet. Currently, the SIA Group has 34 Boeing 777s, with an average age of 12.3 years.
As borders may not reopen soon for leisure travel, these cuts will take place in the coming months. Once its reduction efforts are completed, Singapore Airlines could become a much smaller carrier than we knew before the pandemic.
Will you buy a ticket for this direct flight to nowhere? What do you think of Singapore Airlines tourist flights? Let us know in the comments.