Saturday, February 10, 2018

Singapore Airlines looking at operating more flights from India

Kolkata: Singapore Airlines is upbeat on Indian operations as it mulls the possibility of more flights from the country.
According to David Lim, General Manager India, the airline already has 98 flights a week from 11 destinations in the country. And, plans are now afoot to have more in the coming days.

The 11 destinations from where Singapore Airlines and Silk Air – its sister concern – currently have services are Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Kochi, Vizag, Thiruvananthapuram and Ahmedabad.

“We have not announced anything yet. But we do feel confident to add a few in the coming days. However, I can’t tell you from where,” he told BusinessLine during an interview.
Peak period , Lim said, has already seen Singapore Airlines increase flight frequencies. For instance, in the December-January period, the company had nine flights a week from Kolkata, instead of seven a week (once a day). For the ensuing April-May period, it plans to have five flights a week, instead of four.

“We can add up to 10 more flights – to 108 per week – during the peak period,” he said adding that the company also adds capacity by bringing in bigger aircraft . For instance, in October 2017, , it operated Singapore Airlines flights in place of Silk Air .

Lim, however, ruled out beginning operations from smaller airports immediately. The smallest aircraft the company offers is a 150-seater; and for operations to be sustainable, at least two to three flights a week are required.

“We do not want to start operations and then withdraw all of a sudden,” he added.

Instead of Singapore Airlines starting international operations, it relies on its local partner, Vistara — the Tata-SIA run airline, to grow the market. Singapore Airlines has a 49 per cent stake in the full service carrier. Tatas own the remaining. “We have a partner in Vistara and we co-share with them to different cities and through these, we reach out to more tier-II and-III cities in India,” Lim said.
09/02/18 Abhishek Law/Business Line