Last week’s inaugural commercial flight by Singapore Airlines (SIA) of the new A380 focused attention on Singapore (and Sydney) airport. Not only has SIA received the first A380, but it will receive the next three as well. The airline has indicated that these will be deployed on routes to London and Tokyo. After deliveries to two other airlines SIA will then get its fifth and sixth A380s, which are earmarked for Hong Kong and San Francisco services.
|Singapore Airlines has received the first A380 – it will receive the next three as well.|
Traffic recovers quickly post-SARS
Following the SARS epidemic in the region in 2003, traffic at Singapore Changi airport declined by 15%, but recovered strongly in 2004 helped by the launch of three low-cost carriers, Singapore-based Tiger Airways and ValuAir, and JetStarAsia in which Qantas has a major stake.
|Source: Singapore Changi Airport|
In 2005 and 2006, traffic grew by 7% and 8% respectively. Passengers per aircraft movement are high, averaging between 160 and 165 since the turn of the century. The increasing use of A380s will help push this figure higher, though SIA has configured its A380s with ‘just’ 471 seats – well below the maximum of more than 800. The airport ranks sixth in the world for international passengers, beaten only by the four big European hubs and Hong Kong.
Seasonality not a big issue
In the first six months of 2007 traffic has continued to grow at a modest 5.4% and Changi’s peak-to-off-peak ratio of 1.34 (December v February) is relatively low.
|Source: Singapore Changi Airport|
SIA and partners dominate at SIN
Singapore Airlines has a healthy 47% share of scheduled seat capacity going in to the winter season. Combined with its wholly-owned subsidiary Silk Air and its involvement in LCC Tiger Airways, SIA has, in effect, around 56% of the airport’s capacity.
|Airline||Frequency Share||Capacity Share||Top Route|
|Qantas||3.5%||4.8%||Sydney & London Heathrow|
|Tiger Airways||5.7%||4.1%||Bangkok & Phuket|
|Cathay Pacific||2.1%||3.0%||Hong Kong|
|Malaysia Airlines||3.5%||2.6%||Kuala Lumpur|
|Jetstar Asia||3.5%||2.5%||Bangkok & Hong Kong|
|Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 29 October 2007|
Despite the liberal aviation policies that Singapore has encouraged, LCCs have less than 10% of traffic at the airport. Tiger Airways currently operates to 18 destinations using its 180-seat A320s, while JetStarAsia offers nine and ValuAir three. Air India Express also serves three destinations in India. A dedicated airport terminal catering to the low-cost market was opened in March 2006 with capacity for 2.7 million passengers. Imaginatively called ‘Budget Terminal’, the facility is currently home to Tiger Airways and Cebu Pacific. It has 18 check-in counters and seven departure gates. All other LCCs currently operate from Terminal 1.
Jakarta tops destination rankings
No one destination dominates the flight schedules at Changi. The leading route is to Jakarta (CGK) in Indonesia, but this route accounts for less than 10% of both frequency and capacity at the airport. Although Singapore Airlines and Garuda share 119 of the 184 weekly flights, according to OAG there are nine other carriers offering seats on the route led by Adam Air and Valuair. Several other airlines such as Emirates, Qatar and Lufthansa operate fifth freedom connections between the cities.
|Source: OAG Max Online for w/c 29 Oct 07|
Nine different countries are represented in the list of Top 10 destinations, with only Australia having two airports listed. New routes started in the last few months include Etihad Airways flying in from Abu Dhabi and on to Brisbane (thrice weekly), Tiger Airways to destinations in China and India and Silk Air to Coimbatore and Kathmandu.
F1 circus coming to town in ’08
In the global battle for iconic events Singapore was recently awarded a five-year contract to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix, starting in 2008. The race will be historic as it will be run at night under flood-lights around the city streets. Taking place on 28 September 2008 it will be the 15th race of the 18-race season and is likely to be a boon for local tourism. It will become the fourth Grand Prix to be held in the region, following China, Japan and Malaysia.