Goh Choon Phong, Singapore Airlines
How will the arrival of new aircraft refine your strategy?
The arrival of the Airbus A350 is a game-changer for us. It is very fuel efficient for long-haul operations. It is the right size and allows us to serve key secondary long-haul destinations that we were previously unable to tap. It has allowed us to serve San Francisco direct from Singapore, for example.
Similarly, the Boeing 787-10 is a game-changer for medium-haul operations. The business class is redefining what travel is like.
With these new aircraft, Singapore Airlines will be more effective in tapping into growth.
Why are we seeing so many different airline business models in the market?
Different airlines will look at their respective environments and choose what they need to do.
For us, we wanted to participate in the growth of the low-cost sector. In southeast Asia, low cost has more than a 50% market share. With full service and low-cost carriers (LCC) within the Group, we can serve 26 cities in China and 15 in India. That makes us one of the biggest carriers in those countries. Without the LCC, we wouldn’t have been able to do that.
Are Asia-Pacific carriers now playing a leadership role in global aviation?
The size of the Asia-Pacific market and its growth means that the region’s carriers will play an increasingly important leadership role. It is something that we can expect to happen over the next decade or so.
What is the biggest opportunity for Singapore Airlines?
We see many opportunities. I have mentioned, for example, growing rapidly in China and India. But it is not just about our geographical location.
New technology will enable us to serve our customers better, to generate more revenue, and, potentially, to open up new lines of business.
Are you happy with progress during your term as IATA Chairman?
Many areas saw progress during my time as Chairman, including safety and the governance changes within IATA.
How do you pass the time when flying?
Most of the time, long-haul is an overnight flight for me. So, I will have a good night’s sleep, and, with Wi-Fi, I can clear some work too. I also enjoy interacting directly with the crew to understand what they are going through and to get feedback on where we can improve.
Window or aisle?
Both are fine. Our product makes either choice very comfortable.