The road forks for Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines

Courtesy Changi Airport Singapore

Courtesy Changi Airport Singapore


IT is only to be expected that the fortunes of a country’s airport and its flag carrier at whose airport it is based are intertwined. So in the early years, both Changi Airport and Singapore Airlines (SIA) grow in tandem. However, in recent years, Changi has seen a surge in traffic passing through it while SIA finds the increased competition by the growing number of carriers including low-cost operators on home ground is threatening its market share.

In its latest performance report, Changi recorded 955 flights per day in August, the highest since April last year. The traffic throughput rose 8.2 per cent year-on-year, attributed largely by increased numbers of travellers from nearby Malaysia and Indonesia. Ever since the toll on long-haul travel caused by the global economic meltdown in 2009, Changi has benefitted from the growth in regional traffic and the flourish of budget carriers. SIA on the other hand has suffered from the cutback in premium travel and has since refocused more attention on travel within the region and on low-cost travel through Tigerair and Scoot.

While it is imperative that Changi and SIA should work together to promote travel to Singapore but, in this case, specifically travel on SIA, Changi is aware that it cannot rely on SIA alone to grow its status as the regional hub, particularly as the region increasingly adopts a more liberal aviation policy. Most anticipated is the Asean Open Skies which is targeted to be fully implemented in 2015. Singapore itself has pioneered and has been adopting a very liberal aviation policy that has spurted the growth of both Changi and SIA. For Changi, it is the more the merrier; for SIA, though it has never known to be openly begrudging the competition, it will mean more pressure on its bottom line.

In an early debate on a possible predicament, Singapore has made clear where its priority lies. But if the road has forked for Changi and SIA, it is by no means a quid pro quo situation. Both entities can still be equally successful in their own rights. The competition faced by SIA is as real as that which confronts Changi, which cannot afford to close its doors and lead to would-be customers using competitive airports instead. To a large degree, the fortunes of both Changi and SIA are still intertwined; as they grow, they will proffer new opportunities for each other. Only that they will have to fight their own battles, more so now than before.

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About Dingzi
Writer by passion, with professional expertise in aviation, customer service and creative writing. Aviation veteran, author, editor and management consultant. Besides commentary on business issues and life-interest topics, travel stories and book reviews, genres include fiction, poetry and plays. Nature lover who abhors cruelty of any form to animals, and a tireless traveler. Above all, a dreamer.

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