SIA catches up with new cabin products

Courtesy Singapore Airlines

Courtesy Singapore Airlines

At last, some promise of excitement coming from Singapore Airlines (SIA) as it launched its next generation of cabin products. Over the past couple of years, rivals Cathay Pacific and Qantas have been introducing new stuff, and you wonder when SIA, known for its erstwhile innovative spirit, would step up and catch up.

There will be new ergonomically-designed seats across all cabins and a revamped KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system – an investment to the tune of US$150 million. More legroom and perhaps wider seats have been a constant selling point for legacy airlines, many of whom have boasted a fraction more comfort than their rivals. The real difference however is in First and Business Class, which have been SIA’s strongest suits. Hence it is not surprising that the focus is in these sections to give the well-heeled more space and privacy.

In in-flight entertainment, SIA is finally moving from the clumsy hand-held remote control to a touch-screen mode which has been widely adopted by a number of other airlines.

SIA Executive Vice President Commercial Mak Swee Wah said: “The significant investment in our next generation of cabin products reaffirms our commitment to product innovation and leadership, and demonstrates our confidence in the future for premium full-service air travel.”

The costs of hard product innovation are high, and because of the long lead time involved, so too are the risks high in fluctuating and uncertain economic times. Yet it is not something that leading airlines can do without. Their fear is not the pie getting smaller, but that their share of it may be disproportionately reduced. Constant product innovation and renewal will give them at least that protective, if not aggressive, edge.

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About David Leo
David Leo has more than 30 years of aviation experience, having served in senior management in one of the world's best airlines and airports. He continues to maintain a keen interest in the business, writes freelance and provides consultancy services in the field.

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