SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) on Tuesday unveiled new seats and other in-flight amenities in all classes as part of a sweeping upgrade of its cabins in an attempt to stay competitive.
Passengers on selected flights between Singapore and London will be the first to experience the improved seats and entertainment system, wider TV screens and other improvements, it said in a statement.
SIA said it will spend nearly $150 million improved cabin amenities on an initial eight Boeing 777-300ER aircraft.
The airline is battling strong competition from Asian and Middle Eastern (ME) carriers, and on the economy side from budget airlines, which have grown in number in Asia.
Like other airlines its net profit has been hurt by the sluggish global economy, which has hit both passenger and cargo demand, as well as high oil prices.
“The investment programme will be extended as the new products are introduced on Airbus A350 aircraft scheduled for delivery in the years ahead,” the airline said.
The airline said it worked with top global design firms to give passengers more comfort and luxury, including longer and more luxurious beds in first class and additional personal space in economy.
SIA on May 30 announced it will buy 30 Airbus and 30 Boeing aircraft in an order worth more than $17 billion.
SIA Engineering Co. (SIE), Asia’s second-largest aircraft maintenance company, is set to gain from a travel boom in the region, according to Maybank Kim Eng Holdings and Samsung Asset Management.
Net income at the unit of Singapore Airlines will increase by an average of 6.4 per cent annually over the next three years through March 2016, according to analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. SIA Engineering has climbed 13 per cent this year, the second-biggest advance on the benchmark Straits Times Index.
Carriers from Asia-Pacific, the world’s biggest aviation market, will lead orders for new aircraft, Airbus SAS Chief Operating Officer John Leahy said in February. The region will add about 380 million travellers between 2012 and 2016 to 1.2 billion, the International Air Transport Association has said.
“SIA Engineering is benefiting from industry growth driven by airlines expanding their fleet,” said Alan Richardson, a Hong Kong-based money manager at Samsung Asset Management, which oversees more than $100 billion globally. “The company has a competitive advantage, stable track record and good dividend return.”
SIA Engineering will probably boost its aircraft engine overhaul capacity to meet the rising demand, according to Maybank Kim Eng.
Airlines in the Asia-Pacific region may order 12,820 aircraft by 2032 to cater to increasing demand, according to Boeing Co.’s estimate. Carriers from AirAsia, Asia’s biggest budget airline, to Tiger Airways Holdings Ltd. ordered at least 1,000 new planes in the past five years. About 15 low-cost carriers started flying in the past decade in the region.