Singapore Airlines is a well established flag carrier of Singapore which represents as an Hallmark of Singapore’s long history of advancement and accomplishment. With its well established & unquestionable reputation for quality and safety, consistently outperforming its competitors, it has built and now holds a firm and strong existence in the Asia markets.
1.1 Key learning objectives
The objectives of this report are mainly to know more about how Singapore Airlines overcomes the challenges faced over the years, and also learn about the various factors contributing to the growth and success of the company. Other objectives include a more thorough understanding of the company’s history, subsidiaries aiding them, competitors affecting them, achievements of the company, and strategies engaged to stay competitive in the impact of economic turndown.
Overview of Singapore Airlines
-History of the company
Singapore Airlines was incorporated in January 1947 as a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Singapore government through Temasek Holdings Pte Ltd to provide air services for air transportation, in-flight services, aero-engine services and ground services.
The history began in May 1947 when it started off with a twin-engine Airspeed Consul under Malayan Airways Limited providing air services between Singapore and Malaysia. Over the decades, Malayan Airways Limited grew steadily and more planes were acquired. Malayan Airways Limited was also later renamed Malaysian Airways in 1963 and Malaysia-Singapore Airlines in 1968. In 1972, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines was reconstructed into 2 entities; Malaysian Airline System and Singapore Airlines.
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From the initial Malayan Airways Limited to the current Singapore Airlines, Singapore Airlines has undergone many revolutionary changes to its management and services, allowing it to handle the rapid changes and develop an enviable reputation in the aviation industry. Along the years, new advanced services were also developed to suit the needs of the customers through upgrading of expertise and modernising of the management.
-Company’s motto and objectives
Singapore Airline’s motto is to be an excellent citizen of the world that holds a responsibility in all that they do in building and sustaining its excellence services and strong commitments to the environment.
The objectives of setting up this company are to provide the finest airline services that could cater to the different needs of each individual customer and to create a distinctively different airline that’s international but also retain its Asian personality.
Singapore Airlines, Retrieved from http://www.singaporeair.com/saa/en_UK/content/company_info/index.jsp
-Company’s organisational structure
A company’s organisational structure enables different departments to come together to work and deal in a co-ordinated and co-operative way towards the goal of the company.
Singapore Airline’s culture is based largely on targeting the global market, promoting the quality services provided by the staffs and encouraging close bonds between the employees to work towards the worldwide, dedicating the highest quality of customer service to the customer needs.
With regards to the provided quality services, Singapore Airlines seek for new ways to differentiate itself from the competitors. The strategy adopted by the Singapore Airlines to differentiate itself is the enhancements on the provided services, bringing betterment to the company’s service. Singapore Airlines provide customers with a sense of warmth, friendliness and individual pride.
For example, passengers are treated to excellent food and excellent services whereby they are served with lots of smiles, warm towels, and attention to details.
-Strong Staff Support
Singapore Airlines workforce comprises a diverse mix of people, bringing a range of skills, attributes and personalities to the workplace. This is advantageous to the company as a right combination of skills shows the ability of the staff in the company, presenting the strong staff support shared among the company. Most importantly, there can be passing on of knowledge and skills between the staffs.
The World Airline Awardsâ„¢, Retrieved from http://www.law.smu.edu/Registrar/Course-Schedules—Information/Spring-2011-Tentative-Course-Offerings.aspx
Singapore Airlines handles air transportation and aero services which include in-flight services, ground services and aero-engine overhauling services, providing high levels of innovation and excellent levels of service to meet the customer’s needs.
Being classified as a trend sender in terms of services, excellent in-flight services comprise of air to ground telecommunication, including personal screen size television featured on the seats, caring stewardess serving food and drinks, providing customers with information on anything asked and a host of other assistance were introduced.
Ground services comprise of the handling of passengers, baggage which includes ticket sale, seat reservation, checking in and baggage handled by the Singapore Airlines ground department.
Aero services comprise of the different jet fleets Singapore Airlines uses for the air transportation service.
1.3 Strategies adopted to stay competitive
There are various strategies engaged by Singapore Airlines to constantly ensure its growth and maintain its competitiveness in this global market.
One strategy adopted by Singapore Airlines involves the flexibility and readiness to alter the company’s measures and services in response to the customer requirements. For example, as the company develop over the years, the quality of services provided to the customers enhances, triggering the customers to be more demanding. Thus, Singapore Airlines are assigned to adapt to the customer’s needs by allowing the employees of the company to make decisions that changes the circumstances in the situation, meeting to the request of the customers.
Increasing work productivity
The second strategy is to learn to cut down on the unnecessary loss, and educate the staff to be more disciplined and scrupulous in their work, preventing costly blunder in times of the economic downturn. Training and educational programs are conducted for the staff to upgrade, uplift and improve on their performances which greatly helps in the efficiency and productivity of the staff, upholding the excellent customer service culture.
The third strategy is working on the renewing of aircrafts and services. Singapore Airlines capitalize in engineering facilities to overhaul, repair aircrafts and ground services to be self-sufficient and continuously upgrade of machines and computers, staying strong and competitive in the industry. Trainings and workshops were also suggested to the staffs to equip themselves with the skills to operate the technology, minimising the unnecessary loss and maximise staff efficiency.
Airspeed-Consul twin engine aircraft, the first aircraft was used to provide air transportation service. But after the reconstruction in 1972, Singapore Airlines was formed, and there’s a need of development in aviation. Hence, new wide-bodied jets were acquired, introducing the DC-4 Skymaster, Vickers Viscount, Lockheed Super Constellation, Bristol Brittania, Comet IV, and the Fokker F27 aircrafts to response to the limited services provided by the first aircraft. These newly introduced aircrafts not only response to the limited services provided, it also further reduces the operating cost and are more environmentally friendly.
Exploring new market opportunities
Due to the evolution of the airline industry, Singapore Airlines progressed by exploring new market opportunities like introducing more advanced aircrafts, better technology and services, providing a comprehensive list of services, such as ground services and air services which includes, ticket sale, seat reservation, checking in, baggage handling and in-flight services.
Singapore Airlines also lookout for new opportunities and study of the latest trends in overseas market developments, keeping its technologies up-to-date, following the latest trends, filling the passengers with the most modernize technologies and services.
Retrieved from Proceedings of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies, Vol. 5, pp. 545 – 556, 2005 http://www.easts.info/on-line/proceedings_05/545.pdf
2. Factors contributing to Singapore Airlines’ success
This sector would cover on the factors that contribute to the Singapore Airlines’ success explaining on how Singapore Airlines has achieved its success over the years based on the enhancements of its provided services, the continuous technology updates and the amendments made throughout to stay competitive among the other key players in the air industry.
2.1 Maintaining updated services
In this competitive society, technology is always evolving. Singapore Airlines is constantly developing to maintain its survival in the industry by keeping up with the changes.
Advancement in technology used:
Changes had been made over the years in terms of the jet engines used to provide better services to its customers. For instance, in the early year, the Airspeed-Consul twin engine can only accommodate 5 passengers and there were no flight-stewardess to provide services, but with the evolution in the technology, Singapore Airlines launched more advanced aircrafts (Boeing 747s, Airbuses 310’s) and entertainment systems that improve the in-flight services and thus, better cater to the environment and the customers’ needs. With that, it results in improved services and greater customers’ satisfaction.
An effective organizational structure:
The number of employees increases every year in Singapore Airlines, so as to effectively handle the full range of Singapore Airlines’ business. There is a need to change its organizational structure and manpower for the company to be more organized as years passes. For example, there are different departments for each department to be in charge of; this shows the capability of these different departments specialized in different skills, focusing in different areas, bringing out the best services it can provide.
Achievements over the years
(Profits, growth in employee strengths, success’s summary)
Time-line of Singapore Airline’s achievement:
Over the years, Singapore Airline’s has clinched a lot of awards, arriving at its popularity now. Some of the awards through the years include: Best cabin crew, best full service airline, Best airline for safety, Best Managed Company and more â€¦
The sum-up of the achievements from year 2002-2010
2007-2010- Best Airline, International
May 2010- Best Airline in the world
Oct 2009- SIA being the supplier with the overall highest customer satisfaction
July 2009- Best Cabin Service, aircraft/products, in-flight meals and ground service
August 2008- Airline of the year
July 2008- “First to Fly the A380”, Singapore Airlines
May 2007-Best Asian airline
January 2007- Top Asia/Pacific Airline
April 2006- Platinum Award (Singapore)
December 2005- Outstanding Overall achievement
Oct 2004- Best International Route Airline
May 2003- World’s Best Service Awards
April 2002- Most Preferred Airline
Retrieved from Singapore Airlines http://www.singaporeair.com/saa/en_UK/content/company_info/news/achievements.jsp
Singapore Airline’s Profit statistics of profits grown over the years
Singapore Airlines has earned profits when it first started in 1972 to now, 2010 even though there were some years where the profits dropped. During the gloomy economy in the year of 1990 and 2008, Singapore Airlines is still making profit overall. Singapore Airlines has achieved success these years as its profits and sales have risen many folds since it first started, making significant improvements over the years and always maintaining to keep in pace with the current trends in technology advancements. Most importantly, its motto of work to always be on the feet in providing the best to serve its customers has proven to work, as seen from its increasing market value.
Growth in employee strength
As the business expands and technologies progressed over the years, there is a need in the growth in the capacity of the employees. This results in an increase of employees’ strengths and productivity, handling the advanced technologies and the business expansion.
Hence, as seen from the profits grown through the years, it tells us of the progress Singapore Airlines has made over the years. Enhancement of technology and provided services has manage Singapore Airlines to excel from the other fierce competitors, attaining its success in maintaining the quality of services as well as constantly moving with the market trends. These significant improvements are also the reason behind the increasing profits Singapore Airlines has made over the years. Not only that, the unrelenting hard work and efforts put in throughout these years in the air industry by Singapore Airlines is also being recognized and credit. Major awards are obtained by Singapore Airlines, ascertaining its highly acclaimed position. Singapore Airlines clinched the best airline in the world and having the best cabin service, aircraft/products, in-flight meals and ground service. Most importantly, these awards helped Singapore Airlines to win honour over its competitors, promoting Singapore Airlines’ name and reputation, attracting more customers.
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3. Framework Study on Singapore Airlines – S.W.O.T Analysis
a) Strong brand reputation
Having one of the world’s youngest fleet in the air, a network spanning five continents, the Singapore Girl as the symbol of quality of customer service and care and renowned for its top services, has build Singapore Airlines a reputation over the years, being one of the top 10 airlines of the world. For example, Singapore Airlines was the first airline to introduce hot meals, free alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and hot towels with a unique and patented scent, personal entertainment systems, and video-on-demand in all cabins, serving the best cabin ambience and services to the customers. Being the first airline to provide high quality services makes Singapore Airlines unique and different from the other airlines, hence, is internationally recognized by people as one of the world’s leading carriers. Beside this, stewardesses dressed in elegantly crafted Malay sarong kebaya during the early beginnings of MAL were also the foundation of a unique feature for the strong brand reputation of Singapore Airlines as this has created a huge impact on the customer’s attention of the ‘Singapore Girl’ image where warmth, friendliness and professionalism of the services and care Singapore Airlines provide are represented.
b) Effective team both on ground and in the air
Singapore Airline’s strength mainly lies with its effective team on ground and air. Having an effective team on ground and air is the reason to its strong management Singapore Airlines hold to increase the work productivity, cater its top management services to the customers, leaving a good impression for the customers and to compete with the other airlines, placing the company in a stronger level in this competitive society. For example, on ground, refined and comfortable lounges such as the SilverKris Lounges and Partner Lounges are provided to First and Business Class customers, allowing them to rest, work and relax. Same exceptionally high standard of service as in the air are provided to the customers, meeting to the needs of the customers.
b) Subsidiary companies
Subsidiaries of Singapore Airlines such as SilkAir, Tradewinds Tour and Travel, SIA Engineering Company and SIA Cargo allow Singapore Airlines to expand its business’s networking and focus upon different areas such as ground services, cargo services, security services and catering. Through this, it enables Singapore Airlines to expertise within its own specialised areas of operations and provides a range of distinctive conditions/methods for the airline and the customer’s airlines. For example, Silkair focused on the airline services where it serve the smaller cities and towns of South East Asia, Tradewinds offers a wide range of tours, special deals and travel packages to many destinations around the world, SIA Engineering Company provide engineering services to international air carriers and aerospace equipment manufacturers and SIA Cargo operates to destinations around the world with its large fleet and most technologically advanced commercial freighters, providing flexibility to meet all types of needs to get cargo to anywhere in the world.
c) Adaptability of the company
As being mentioned in the second half of the report, it has been clearly emphasized that Singapore Airline’s adaptability is strong and they are ever ready for any challenges where enhancements of technologies and services provided are carried out to constant look-out for new market trends, opportunities and to deliver a cosy and relaxed environment for customers to fly in. This proficiency has proved Singapore Airlines to thrive even in times of gloomy situations or rise in oil prices where profits are still made over the years till today.
With the above strengths Singapore Airlines own, Singapore Airlines has the ability to stay firm and competitive in this airline industry with its unique positioning, blending of technology and romance, outdoing the rest of the players in the industry.
In spite of the strengths that Singapore Airlines has, it also has its fair share of weaknesses.
a) Travel cost
Travel cost, the most imperative problem Singapore Airlines face as providing the consumers reasonable and affordable costs of flight with a quality service is the biggest menace. Therefore, this might be one of the reasons of customer’s switching to the other low cost airlines whereby consumers may find the high quality services unnecessary and the prices of the low cost airlines are much more affordable compared to the Singapore Airlines.
Being the most common weaknesses among all working companies in the world, is competitors. Singapore Airlines definitely has its own competitors in this airline industry. Thus, Singapore Airlines lock out its competitors by always upgrading its fleet, having a great cash flow and excellent flight operations. Most importantly, Singapore Airlines recognizes the varying needs and demands of the consumers meeting to all the customer’s requirements earning their choice of airline as Singapore Airlines. These enhancements allow Singapore Airlines to incessantly move towards progression and outdo its competitors.
One of the aims that Singapore Airlines is looking for is to constantly seek outreach with the other airlines company, expanding its network of flights. One example would be the partnerships with Delta Airlines and the Swissair. This partnership has secured Singapore Airlines a new strategic gateway in South East Asia, allowing Singapore Airlines passengers travelling between Singapore and South East Asia countries have more flights from which to choose.
b) Acquisition of advanced technology/planes
As mentioned earlier, Singapore Airlines is always on the move to upgrade its aircrafts and technologies to better satisfy its customers. It ensures that it has sufficient cash-flow to allow for the acquisition of the latest machineries and technology, so as not to lose out to its fellow competitors. One example would be in 1997, Singapore Airlines launched innovative in-flight entertainments like TV and air to ground telephone services offering passengers with viewing and listening options.
Fear of retaining and attracting customers
Due to the many competitors in this industry, it is essential that Singapore Airlines can meet the demands of customers, no matter how hard it may be. In certain cases where Singapore Airlines is unable to fulfil the requirements of the customers, it is easy for customers to switch to other intensifying airlines. Also, airlines such as the Western and Eastern airlines are improving their technology along the years. Therefore, these improvements may be the reason of not being able to retain/attract customers.
Based on the achievements achieved and the improving performance performed over the years, the analysis in this report shows that Singapore Airlines is a successful company. Undoubtedly, Singapore Airlines still faces several weaknesses and disadvantages, such as the expensive travel cost and the highly competitive nature of the airline industry, threatening Singapore Airlines vulnerable to making changes. However, the strengths that Singapore Airlines possess as a company have successfully enabled it to progress and thrive in the industry throughout the years, developing an enviable reputation in its industry making it recognised and trustable to the public. This is shown from the SWOT analysis, which displays how Singapore Airline’s strengths have enabled it to stand firm in the industry. A good example is the strong brand reputation of the ‘Singapore Girl’ where quality customer care and services are served, creating a huge impact on the customer’s attention of the ‘Singapore Girl’ image where warmth, friendliness and professionalism of the services and care Singapore Airlines provides. Other includes having an effective team on ground, working with subsidiary companies, providing a range of distinctive services for the airline, its great flexibility and adaptability that Singapore Airlines has displayed in preparation for less optimistic situations.
4.2 Personal reflection
I will have to say that this profiling of Singapore Airlines Company has really made me further understand the workings of the company systems, the neat organization, its profits earned over the years and the achievements it has attained despite the fact that there might be external threats faced and economic recession. Making constantly changes, keeping the technologies up-to-date and adopting the most appropriate and strategic methods that work best for the company has managed Singapore Airlines to survive, compete and grow stronger in this airline industry. In addition, the interviews performed has enable me to develop a better understanding of the company’s structure, operations and the effort put in that helped pave its achievements. Most importantly, I’ve learnt that the key to maintain/build an enviable reputable in its industry is not easy; efforts and contributions by everyone in the company must be put in.
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