**Update 09/14/20 @ 08:10 UTC – A Singapore Airlines spokesperson commented about the airline’s potential plans; details below**
By the end of October, we may see Singapore Airlines take to the skies once again on commercial flights. These flights aim to ferry around domestic passengers on no-destination trips. Dubbed ‘flights to nowhere,’ these are slated to take off from Changi Airport and land back there three hours later.
With borders still closed for leisure travel, such flights will help generate revenue for the ailing airline, especially after reporting an SG $1 billion loss for the financial year’s first quarter. Passenger carrier numbers had also dropped 99.5% for the flag carrier.
To make the flights more attractive, it may come bundled with staycation options, limousine rides, and airport shopping vouchers, reports Bloomberg.
75% willing to pay for flights to nowhere
Director at Singapore Air Charter, Stefan Wood, is confident the flights will be in high demand. As cited in The Straits Times, his firm carried out a survey that revealed 75% of respondents was willing to pay a sum to sit on SIA once again.
Almost half are willing to fork out SG$288 ($210) for an economy class seat, while 40% sees SG$588 ($430) as a fair amount for a seat in business class.
Wood’s firm was previously in talks with Singapore Airlines to provide these flights to nowhere collaboratively. However, SIA has expressed interest in conducting the flights on its own, which Wood accepts. He told The Straits Times,
“To me, it is about the Singapore economy and pumping some money back into the sector.”
SIA may also be exploring a partnership with the country’s Tourism Board to allow potential passengers to pay for the flights via tourism credits. Such credits were introduced after the tourism industry in Singapore took a hard-hit amid the pandemic. The government aims to reignite the sector by encouraging residents to explore the country, via its SingapoRediscovers campaign – which includes tourism vouchers.
Singapore Airlines spokesperson Karl Schubert told Simple Flying that the details on the flights to nowhere are still in the works. According to Schubert,
“Singapore Airlines is considering several initiatives that would allow us to continue engaging both our customers and members of the public. We will make an announcement at the appropriate time if we go ahead with these plans.”
Sightseeing flights are popular amid the pandemic
Flights to nowhere are gaining popularity over the past few months. Airlines have been extremely creative in branding these flights as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
For Starlux Airlines, a Taiwanese carrier, it branded its no-destination flights as a chance to “Fly to the Moon”. Specifically, the flights, which will take place on October 1st and 2nd, 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 particular flight, which sent travelers all over Taiwan, took place on EVA Air’s unique Hello Kitty A330-300s.
Besides giving travelers a chance to fly again, this experience enables the once-grounded aircraft to pump its engines once more – eradicating the need for significant maintenance.
This is precisely what Japanese airline ANA did with its Airbus A380s. ANA carried out Hawaiian-themed sightseeing flights on its ‘Flying Honu’ aircraft. The 90-minute flight occurred on August 22nd, with 334 passengers on board. Passengers were chosen via a lottery.
SIA to become smaller
Battered by the pandemic, SIA has had to make severe changes to its company. Earlier this week, the airline made news for cutting 15% of its workforce across Singapore Airlines, Scoot, and SilkAir. An estimated 2,400 of its employees will be laid off, whereas the remaining 1,900 will remove themselves from the airline due to hiring freezes or voluntary departures.
Additionally, the flag carrier aims to reduce its fleet significantly. SIA Group has a total of 220 planes, with all its 19 A380s grounded. Many airlines have said goodbye to this giant in 2020, with Air France scrapping all its A380s in June.
Removing the A380s will help SIA cut costs. As for its older planes, SIA’s Boeing 777s may also be cut from the fleet. At the moment, SIA Group has 34 Boeing 777s, with an average age of 12.3 years.
Seeing as how borders may not reopen for leisure travel anytime soon, these cuts will happen in the next few months. Once completing its reduction efforts, Singapore Airlines may become a much smaller carrier than the one we knew before the pandemic.
Will you buy a ticket for this flight to nowhere? What are your thoughts on Singapore Airlines’ sightseeing flights? Let us know in the comments.