Sunday, July 2, 2017

Security to get tougher – but laptops, iPads can stay in cabin

Travelers from around the world seeking to fly to the United States will soon face a new series of security hurdles before they’ll be allowed to enter the country.

And if the airline they are flying is either unable or unwilling to comply with the new security measures being imposed by the Department of Homeland Security, the airline could lose its landing rights in the United States.
I am concerned that we are seeing renewed interest on the part of terrorist groups to go after the aviation sector—from bombing aircraft to attacking airports on the ground, as we saw in Brussels and Istanbul,” said John F. Kelley, the Secretary of Homeland Security.
However, we are not standing on the sidelines while fanatics hatch new plots. The U.S. government is focused on deterring, detecting, and disrupting these threats,” he said.
“We cannot play international whack-a-mole with each new threat. Instead, we must put in place new measures across the board to keep the traveling public safe and make it harder for terrorists to succeed,” he said.
I am announcing a first step toward this goal by requiring new security measures to be applied to all commercial flights coming into the United States. These measures will be both seen and unseen, and they will be phased in over time
The measures include:
·         Enhancing overall passenger screening;
·         Conducting heightened screening of personal electronic devices;
·         Increasing security protocols around aircraft and in passenger areas; and
·         Deploying advanced technology, expanding canine screening, and establishing additional pre-clearance locations.

Kelley said these measures could affect all commercial flights departing from 280 airports that serve as last points of departure to the United States.
According to Homeland Security officials, the new restrictions affect 105 countries and a total of 180 airlines. On average, that’s 2,000 flights a day with 325,000 daily passengers.
Homeland Security did, however, did abandon its plan to prohibit passengers from bringing laptops and tablets onto planes in their carry-on bags,
Currently, passengers traveling from airports in a total of eight Muslim-majority countries are prohibited from carrying laptop computers, iPads and other devices larger than a cell phone aboard direct flights the United States. Gulf airlines have been the most affected by the current restrictions.
The department said the restriction on electronic devices on flights from those eight countries might be lifted when and if those airports and airlines adopt the new security measures.
The department warned that airlines or foreign airports “who fail to implement these requirements and the follow-on measures within certain timeframes run the risk of additional security restrictions. Ultimately, failure to follow security directives can jeopardize an airline or airport’s ability to operate flights into the United States.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, the United Arab Emirates ambassador in Washington, Yousef Al Otaiba, vowed to “strongly support and cooperate fully” with the Homeland Security rules, which he called “good news” for travelers on flights originating in or transiting the giant airport in Dubai.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

These five airlines give you free in-flight Internet

In-flight Internet is virtually ubiquitous these days with most major airlines offering some form of sky-high WiFi – and while this has traditionally attracted sky-high prices to match, the cost of connecting mid-flight is on the decline, with some airlines now even offering the service for free.
Among them: Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Finnair, Qantas and Virgin Australia: and if the trend continues, the prospect of paying for in-flight Internet could soon mirror the same concept at hotels, where Internet access once cost a small fortune but now comes at no charge for most guests.
Australian Business Traveller highlights five airlines that provide some form of free inflight Internet, including how you can take advantage on your next domestic or international flight.

Emirates: free Airbus A380, Boeing 777 in-flight Internet:

A business or first class ticket with Emirates now buys unlimited free Wi-Fi with the Gulf carrier.
Passengers booked in economy aren’t forgotten either, with the previous allowance of 10MB now boosted to 20MB for use within two hours of first connecting: although further browsing now costs US$9.99 for 150MB or US$15.99 for 500MB if you’re stuck down the back.

Finnair: free Airbus A330, A350 in-flight Internet:

Complimentary for the entire flight for Finnair Platinum and Oneworld Emerald frequent flyers travelling in any cabin, including Qantas Platinum, Platinum One and Chairman’s Lounge.
Business class passengers, Finnair Gold and Oneworld Sapphire frequent flyers (such as Qantas Gold) instead receive one hour of complimentary connectivity and can purchase further access at standard rates, being €7.95 for one hour, €11.95 for three hours or €19.95 for the entire flight.

Qantas: free Boeing 737 in-flight Wi-Fi

Your next Qantas domestic flight may provide sky-high WiFi if you chance upon the airline’s current Boeing 737 test aircraft (registration VH-XZB)
There are no time or download limits to get in your way, and access is completely free for all travellers: not just those seated in business class or with a shiny frequent flyer card.

Virgin Australia: free Boeing 737 in-flight Wi-Fi

Qantas challenger Virgin Australia is also trialing sky-high Wi-Fi aboard a single Boeing 737, and during that trial period, access is free for all passengers – again with no time or download limits.
The prospect of keeping the internet fee-free is still on the table; however, as is the idea of offering the first 30 minutes free and charging for further access, so until a final decision is made, make the most of the complimentary access!

Cathay Pacific: free Airbus A350 in-flight Internet

Cathay Pacific charges for its in-flight Internet – either US$9.95 for one hour or US$19.95 for the entire flight on journeys over six hours – but by completing a few quick questions, you can get the first hour free.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Qatar blockade could hit state airline, al-Jazeera and World Cup

Residents reportedly stockpiling goods from supermarkets amid fears over food imports after land, sea and air routes closed.

The tiny Gulf state of Qatar has been literally and figuratively isolated by the escalating row with its Arab neighbours, with land, sea and air routes closed off in an unprecedented crisis in the Arabian peninsula that threatens longstanding trade deals.
The closure of the only land route into Qatar as well as the airspaces of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in effect established a blockade on Doha, which relies almost entirely on imports to feed its population.
It will damage the prospects of a recovery for Doha’s national carrier, Qatar Airways, amid a slowdown caused by the US administration’s ban on electronic devices in the cabins of aircraft flying from the Middle East, and will raise questions about the future of al-Jazeera, the flagship television network established by the Gulf kingdom and which has been at the centre of diplomatic rows with the rest of the region.
Along with the block on re-exports from Dubai to Qatar, together the measures could even affect the monarchy’s preparations for the football World Cup it is due to host in 2022.
I cannot think of a comparable example. It does put major pressure on Qatar,” Robin Mills, CEO of the UAE-based Qamar Energy, said of the blockade. “I’m not sure how easily they can replace imports with other air or sea routes.”
Qatar has endured a sustained media onslaught by its Gulf neighbours in the last few weeks, after comments attributed to the country’s emir at a military graduation ceremony described Iran, Riyadh’s regional arch-rival, as a potential force for stability in the Middle East and alluded to tensions with the Trump administration in the US. Qatar claimed the quotes from the speech, which briefly appeared on its state news agency, were the result of hacking.
The campaign reached a crescendo on Monday with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain severing diplomatic relations and halting flights to and from Doha and expelling it from an Arab-led coalition fighting in Yemen, as well as demanding the departure within two weeks of Qatari residents and citizens in their countries.
The long-haul carriers Emirates and Etihad as well as the budget airline FlyDubai said they would halt flights to Qatar, and stocks plunged.
Much of Qatar’s food imports arrive by land through the border with Saudi Arabia. Local media reports said residents had rushed to stockpile goods from supermarkets amid fears of an extended blockade.
The closure of Emirati, Saudi and Bahraini airspace is likely have a disastrous impact on Qatar Airways. Qatari flights will have to take much longer and more convoluted routes to get around the bans, flying over Iran while avoiding Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Syria, Israel and much of Iraq.
Al-Jazeera was already blocked in several Arab countries. The channel was praised for its coverage of the initial months of the Arab uprisings in 2011, but since then it has been transformed in the minds of many in the region into a tool for furthering Qatari foreign policy and promoting the views of Islamist groups that the monarchy has backed in recent years, including Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
In 2014 the Gulf states withdrew their ambassadors from Qatar in a months-long diplomatic crisis, and one of the concessions offered by Doha was the closure of al-Jazeera Mubashir, a channel dedicated to propagating Muslim Brotherhood views about the 2013 coup in Egypt. Analysts suspect further curbs may be imposed on al-Jazeera this time around.

The media has been one of the key themes in the diplomatic wrangling over the past few weeks,” said Amro Ali, an assistant professor in sociology at the American University of Cairo. “It is somewhat part of the existential makeup of the Qatari establishment and perceived as an informal branch of Doha’s government. It has helped cement Qatar’s international reach and legitimacy, yet ironically has now played a part in its undoing.”

CAA Sri Lanka DG betrays country for service extension!

 The Civil Aviation Authority is the body that regulates civil aviation activities in Sri Lanka.
From 27 December 2002 to date, respective governments changed its chairmen, but the only person who remains in his job all this while is its Director General H.M. Chandrasena Nimalsiri. For 15 years, he is running an authoritarian rule to establish his power. Those who are close and near him get all the privileges, while a majority of employees of the institution remain trampled by his iron shoes. To say the least, the Authority does not have a second string. The DG thinks of flying in the air until the day he dies.

The ages of officials in its hierarchy are as follows:

· Director General – 59 Years
· Additional Director General – 59 Years
· Three Deputy Director Generals – 60 years,

58 years, 57 yr Taking a look at this group nearing 60 years of age, it is not difficult to understand the mentality of the DG, who is surrounded by his friends of his own age, while taking the institution’s future to ruin. His hunger for power prevents anyone to be nurtured as a future head of the institution. Anyone posing a threat to him had no future in the institution. If someone becomes prominent that person will face all the accusations and threats. Those who could not stand it left the country, while others said goodbye to the institution.

Therefore, the transport and civil aviation minister at a recent meeting named a next DG and ordered that a report be submitted to him regarding the training that official would need.
Betraying Sri Lanka for his service extension

Nimalsiri is now scheming to prevent his exit once he completes 60 years of age in about a year’s time. For that, he would willingly betray his own parents.

Anyhow, an international civil aviation audit has been obtained for 2017. Now, he is wagering that audit to suit his devious activities. He is asking for a service extension by saying that he is indispensable to the institution. Employees ask as to whether the institution would have to be closed down after he left.

In 2010 an aviation safety audit took place in Sri Lanka. If needed, more time can be sought for another audit. How can he seek more time if he is almost 60 years of age? Therefore, he has asked for trouble when he sought an audit for 2017. Who could say that he would not act to fail in it, by claiming himself to be the only mature person in the Authority in order to continue his authoritarian rule for some more time?

He has betrayed the country in order to remain in the Authority. A real leader should have used the results of the previous audit to cultivate a new leader. But, his hunger for power has surpassed everything else. The DG who is talkative about development in the world is having his talk boomerang on him. If not for the web media, this autocrat would have repressed its employees.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Over-regulation killing aviation

OVER-regulation of Australia’s aviation industry has created a situation whereby pilots spend more time ticking boxes and filling out paperwork than flying planes, operators say.

Chief Executive of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, Benjamin Morgan, spoke out about an “industry in decline” following another fatal crash in Australia.

Rossair chief pilot Martin Scott and pilot inductee Paul Daw were killed, along with Civil Aviation Safety Authority officer Stephen Guerin, when a Cessna Conquest crashed shortly after takeoff from Renmark Airport in South Australia on Tuesday.

The crash was the worst in the state this century, and came just a few months after the Essendon crash in Victoria in which five lives were lost.

Both incidents are now under investigation by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.


Mr. Morgan said it was difficult to draw a connection between the tragic crashes and the regulatory burdens on general aviation.

But he said there was growing concern about the demands on aviation business owners, many of whom were also pilots.

What we’re seeing take place is that business owners and operators of flying schools and charter operations are spending more and more time out of the cockpit ticking boxes and filling out forms,” Mr Morgan said.

If you shift the focus from hands-on proficiency then that will have a toll long-term on aviation safety.”

He said that was not to suggest recent crashes were due to a lack of training or competency.

More and more flight operations are complaining they’re spending more time on paperwork, and it’s not just AOPA saying that — the entire industry is saying it,” said Mr Morgan.

It’s highly logical that pilots and business owners, the more time they spend around aircraft the better they’re going to be.

“It’s fair to argue the current system is not working, it’s failing.”


AvLaw International chairman Ron Bartsch echoed Mr Morgan’s concerns about the regulatory burden on aviation businesses.

It’s the old cost benefit analysis of what’s a reasonably acceptable level of safety,” said Mr Bartsch.

CASA has recognised world standards in terms of safety and oversight but a lot of the increased measures have adversely affected the general aviation community.”

CASA spokeswoman Amanda Palmer said the authority worked across industry to identify and address areas of concern, actively promote safety and educate the aviation community.

“The vast majority of pilots and operators comply with aviation regulations,” said Ms Palmer.

It is this attitude, combined with a just culture approach and independent accident investigation, that ensures we have some of the safest skies in the world.”

She described this week’s accident at Renmark as a “tragedy”.

We are working with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to provide information of relevance to their investigation.”

Monday, May 29, 2017

British Air meltdown feeds outrage at tight-fisted airlines:

British Airways' epic meltdown over a busy holiday weekend further fanned public outrage of an industry infamous for its focus on cost cuts over customer service, leaving the U.K. carrier scrambling to explain how a local computer outage could lead to thousands of stranded passengers.
Amid United Airlines' dragging fiasco, mass cancellations at Delta Air Lines and U.S. concerns about terrorists using laptops to down planes, the global aviation industry hardly needed another blow. But then on Saturday morning, a brief power surge knocked out British Airways' communications systems grounding the carrier's entire London operations, leading to days of chaos and putting the new chief executive officer in the hot seat.
With nearly 600 flights canceled and luggage unable to be dispersed, images and horror stories quickly coursed through social media. Damages for rebooking and compensating customers is estimated at about $112 million, or about 3 percent of the annual operating profit of parent IAG SA.

The image damage could be even greater as British Airways appears to have no idea how it all happened. "We're absolutely committed to finding out the root causes of this particular event," a grim looking Alex Cruz, the airlines' CEO, said in an interview with Sky Television. He did, however, rule out a cyber attack, which suggests the faults are homegrown.
"It is tempting but increasingly questionable to view this as a one-off," said Damian Brewer, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets. "Coming after a spate of other issues, the bad PR and potential reputational aftermath will likely hit future revenues beyond the likely material impact."
The U.K. carrier is still processing thousands of passengers who missed flights or lost their luggage. The airline said about 75,000 people were affected, while analysts said the number was likely closer to 170,000. About 95 percent of flights are running, and more than two-thirds of the 75,000 affected passengers will reach their final destination by the end of the day, Cruz said in a YouTube message posted on Monday.

The crisis puts the spotlight on Cruz, who took charge a year ago after running IAG's Spanish budget unit Vueling for more than nine years.
While Cruz helped Vueling expand into Spain's second-biggest airline, the airline suffered repeated flight cancellations and delays last summer due to a lack of available aircraft and crews. Vueling was the only airline in IAG's portfolio where profit declined last year.
His four-year cost-cutting program at BA includes eliminating almost 700 back-office jobs, outsourcing some technology operations and switching to paid-for food on short-haul flights. The excessive focus on costs is to blame for the latest mess, according to the GMB union.
"They started on this journey to outsource and offshore this work and there have been a number of incidents now that have culminated in what has taken place this weekend," Mick Rix, national officer for civil aviation at GMB, said in a phone interview on Monday.
For passengers, workers and tabloids that have criticized the industry's ruthless cost reductions for years, the disruptions seemed to prove that airlines have gone too far. 

Daily Mail blamed Cruz and chastised his methods at Vueling, where he outlawed color printing, banned paper towels from washrooms and offered visitors to business meetings only tap water. Critics on social media, meanwhile, questioned whether British Airways deserved to claim itself as the U.K.'s flag carrier after the perpetual cutbacks.

Cruz and the airline were keen to distance themselves from any notion that penny pinching led to the meltdown, saying instead that the outage was caused by damage at U.K. data centers, where work wasn't outsourced.
"Two days later, they are not all back up and running completely, but we are making good progress in our recovery," the airline said in a statement. "We do have a back-up system, but on this occasion it failed."
It's not the first problem involving British Airways. Last September, a computer network failure brought down the carrier's check-in system, causing worldwide service delays, while earlier this month, London Gatwick airport reported problems with its baggage-sorting system.
The latest gaffe hits British Airways as it faces increasing competition on lucrative transatlantic routes. Low-cost competitor Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA is ramping up service to the U.S., while Ryanair Holdings Plc is increasing feeder operations to connect with long-haul flights to destinations such as New York and Havanna.
Customers who were sent away from Heathrow and Gatwick on Saturday were told to find hotels on their own for reimbursement later by British Airways. Payments will include 200 pounds ($260) per night for lodging, 50 pounds round trip between the airport and the hotel, and as much as 25 pounds for refreshments, according to leaflets from the company. Operations were gradually recovering by Monday, when just 50 flights to and from its main London Heathrow hub were canceled and operations were back on schedule at Gatwick.
"It's a tragedy," Cruz said. "We do apologize profusely for the hardship that these customers of ours have had to go through."
By: Richard Weiss, Rebecca Penty

Sunday, May 28, 2017

British Airways resumes flights from London after IT outage but many passengers still wait

British Airways resumed some flights from Britain's two biggest airports on Sunday after a global computer system failure created chaos, but hundreds of passengers were still waiting for hours at London Heathrow.
BA said it aimed to operate the majority of services from Heathrow and a near normal schedule from Gatwick, the capital's second busiest airport. Heathrow, however, said it expected further delays and cancellations of BA flights.
At Heathrow's Terminal 5, where BA is the dominant carrier, hundreds of passengers were waiting in line on Sunday and flight arrival boards showed cancelled flights.
Some passengers were curled up under blankets on the floor or sleeping slumped on luggage trolleys. Several passengers complained about a lack of information from BA representatives at the airport. Others said their luggage had been lost.
"Many of our IT systems are back up today," BA Chairman and Chief Executive Alex Cruz said in a video posted on Twitter.
"All my British Airways colleagues on the ground and in the air are pulling out all the stops to get our operation back up to normal as quickly as we possibly can, we're not there yet."
Cruz said BA, part of Europe's largest airline group IAG, planned to fly all its long haul services from Heathrow on Sunday, although there would be delays due to the knock on impact from Saturday's disruption and some short haul flights would be cancelled.
He also asked passengers not to arrive at Heathrow too early, warning they would not be admitted into Terminal 5 until 90 minutes before their flight's scheduled departure time.
Gatwick and Heathrow also told passengers not to travel to the airports unless they were rebooked on other flights.
British Airways cancelled all its flights from Heathrow, Europe's busiest airport, and Gatwick on Saturday after a power supply problem disrupted its flight operations worldwide and also hit its call centres and website. Cruz said there was no evidence of any cyber attack.
A spokeswoman for BA could not immediately detail the exact number of flights cancelled on Saturday.
Thousands of passengers queued for hours in departure halls at the airports on a particularly busy weekend. Monday is a public holiday and many children were starting a one-week school holiday.
Cruz said those who decided not to fly could rebook for dates until the end of November, or receive a full refund.
While British Airways could face a one-off financial hit from the cancellations, the risk to its reputation among customers could have a more damaging longer-term effect.
It is already facing declining customer ratings following unpopular decisions made as it faces competition from low-cost airlines. These include starting to charge for food on short haul flights last year to cut costs.
"There will be short term financial repercussions of this outage in terms of lost revenue, compensation for passengers and cost of alternative arrangements," said Kunal Kothari, UK All Cap equity analyst at Old Mutual Global Investors, one of IAG's top-10 shareholders.
"I do not, however, expect the outage to have lasting financial repercussions for the group."
Terminals at Heathrow and Gatwick became jammed with angry passengers, with confused BA staff unable to help as they had no access to their computers, according to passengers interviewed by Reuters.
Some passengers expressed frustration on Twitter over missing bags and long waits in telephone queues to speak to BA staff. BA said it had introduced more flexible rebooking policies for passengers affected.
While other airlines have been hit by computer problems, the scale and length of BA's troubles were unusual.
Delta Air Lines Inc cancelled hundreds of flights and delayed many others last August after an outage hit its computer systems. Last month, Germany's Lufthansa and Air France suffered a global system outage which briefly prevented them from boarding passengers.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Airlines have rules about taking photos, video on planes

Without the shocking video, it's unlikely that the world would have learned or cared about the violent manhandling of a 69-year-old man on a plane last month.
The outrage on social media, the mea culpa by an airline CEO, the promise to treat customers better — none of it would have happened.
The passengers who shot those videos on a United Express plane in Chicago violated United's policy on photography. By the letter of the airline's law, they too could have been ordered off the plane.
Under United's policy, customers can take pictures or videos with small cameras or cellphones "provided that the purpose is capturing personal events." Filming or photographing other customers or airline employees without their consent is prohibited. American, Delta and Southwest have similar policies.
Passengers are accustomed to using their cellphones to take photos and videos that they can upload to Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Airline rules on photography are sporadically enforced, but passengers should read them in the in-flight magazines because there can be consequences.
This month, a United ticket agent ordered a passenger's reservation canceled as he filmed her while disputing a $300 baggage fee in the New Orleans airport. After Navang Oza posted his video online, United apologized, saying that the video "does not reflect the positive customer experience we strive to offer."
In April, a JetBlue Airways crew called airport police to meet a man who they said continued to record a selfie video during a security-sensitive time in flight, while the cockpit door was opened. Michael Nissensohn insists that he wasn't recording the procedure.
"I told them there is no rule against talking a selfie on a plane," Nissensohn says. He says he was ordered off the plane and held up at LaGuardia airport in New York for more than an hour before being let go without charges. JetBlue declined to comment on the incident. A spokesman says the airline doesn't publish its photography policy for security reasons.
With airline customer service in decline, videotaping is the only way that passengers can make sure they are treated fairly, says Gary Leff, a travel blogger who has criticized the airlines over the issue.
"The TSA allows more photography at the checkpoint than the airlines allow on board their planes," he says.
The Transportation Security Administration says that photography at checkpoints is fine if people don't take images of monitors or interfere with screeners. Travel bloggers say, however, that people have had run-ins with TSA officers, and you should expect to be questioned if you snap more than a casual photo of a companion.
Lawyers who specialize in First Amendment or travel law say airlines generally cannot limit photography or video recording in an airport because it is a public space. But airlines have more power on planes because as private parties they are not bound by the First Amendment.
"They are within their rights to establish these rules, they are within their rights to throw you off the aircraft if you continue filming," says Joseph Larsen, a media-law attorney in Houston.
However, there is no law against taking photos or video on an airplane, and it is unlikely that anyone would face legal jeopardy for taking pictures of an altercation on a plane or their own peaceful dispute with an airline employee, Larsen says.
"If you see something going on that is a matter of legitimate public interest," he says, go ahead and capture it even if you don't have express permission to film another passenger. The man who was roughed up by airport officers on the United Express plane, David Dao, "has already got his settlement with United," Larsen says. "He is probably pretty happy that was documented."
After a video of a confrontation over a stroller between an American Airlines flight attendant and a mother with two young children, the airline grounded the employee. The person who shot the video violated American's policy, which prohibits "unauthorized photography or video recording" of employees or other passengers.
Privately, airline officials say it is unlikely they would take action in such cases. American is reviewing its policy because of the difficulty of enforcing it.
Even if the law is on the side of the passenger with a camera, there are practical considerations.
"Unless it's a legitimate safety issue like annoying other people, I don't see a problem with taking photos on a plane. But that's a call of the captain, and in the first instance the captain is right," says Thomas Dickerson, a retired New York state judge and author of "Travel Law."

Passengers can challenge the captain's judgment in court, and might win, Dickerson says, "but the problem for consumers is, do you really want to get thrown off the plane?"

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

SIA undertaking review after reporting big drop in full year profit

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has established a “transformation office” to conduct a review of the business after reporting a near halving of full year net profit for fiscal 2017.
The airline group posted net profit for the 12 months to March 31 2017 of S$441.9 million (A$427.1 million), down 48.1 per cent from S$851.8 million in the prior corresponding period.
The full year result was hurt by a fourth quarter loss of S$126 million, compared with net profit of S$234 million a year earlier.
Intense competition arising from excess capacity in major markets, alongside geopolitical and economic uncertainty, continue to exert pressure on yields,” SIA said in its full year results released on the Singapore stock exchange on Thursday evening.
Singapore Airlines, and others, have battled the rapid international expansion of Chinese airlines and the ongoing rise of Middle East carriers offering long-haul to long-haul connections through their hubs, which have bitten into previously lucrative markets. And in Asia, low-cost carriers (LCC) have won passengers happy to pay lower fares for a no-frills product on short- and medium-haul routes.
As part of efforts to adapt to this new environment, SIA established Scoot to capture a slice of the growling low-cost long-haul market, while it recently took full control of short-haul LCC Tigerair Singapore. The two budget carriers are merging to operate under the Scoot brand from the second half of 2017.
Moreover, Singapore Airlines is embarking on a significant overhaul of its fleet through orders for Airbus A350-900s, A380s, Boeing 787-10s and 777-9Xs, while its regional wing SilkAir is replacing A320s with new 737-800s and the 737 MAXes.
SIA said the many strategic initiatives being implemented to address the structural changes in the industry were now showing positive results.
To that end, SIA said it had established a wide-ranging review of the airline group’s network, fleet, product and service, as well as organisational structure and processes as part of efforts to build on the strategic initiatives currently being implemented and achieve long-term sustainable growth.
The review is aimed at identifying new revenue-generation opportunities and reshaping the business into one that continues to deliver high-quality products and services, though with a significantly improved cost base and higher levels of efficiency,” SIA said.
SIA said full year revenue across the airline group was down 2.4 per cent to S$14.87 billion.
A yet-to-be-painted A350-900 for Singapore Airlines seen at Airbus’s headquarters in Toulouse on May 17. (Jordan Chong)
Singapore Airlines was expected to take delivery of 13 aircraft in fiscal 2018 comprising 10 A350-900s and three A380s, with 12 of the 13 expected to be in service by the company’s end of financial year date of March 31 2018.
The airline confirmed it would return four of its A380s to lessors during fiscal 2018, which will be the first aircraft of the type to enter the second-hand market.
A further two A330-300s, two 777-200s and one 777-200ER were also slated for withdrawal.
The addition of more modern, fuel-efficient aircraft with new-generation cabin products is enabling the Group to expand its network and enhance its competitiveness in both the full-service and low-cost market segments,” SIA said.
With Scoot and Tiger Airways preparing to operate under the single Scoot brand, more synergies are expected within the budget segment, both operationally and strategically.”
Singapore Airlines, or what SIA calls the Parent Airline Company, suffered a 20.4 per cent drop in operating profit to S$386 million.
Load factors eased 0.6 of a percentage point to 79 per cent, while yields slipped 3.8 per cent and cost per available seat kilometre excluding fuel rose 3.6 per cent.
By contrast, the financial performance of SilkAir and Tigerair/Scoot improved in fiscal 2017.

SilkAir achieved an 11 per cent improvement in operating profit to S$101 million, while Budget Aviation Holdings (the umbrella company for Tigerair and Scoot) operating profit rose 60 per cent to S$67 million.