Interview with Nicholas Ionides, Singapore Airlines Vice President Public Affairs.
ABOUT THE PREMIUM ECONOMY
After two or three months in service, what are the first results of the Eco Premium? How far has the product being accepted? Is SIA seeing an upward shift from passengers from Eco to Eco Premium or is the shift mostly from C to Eco Premium?
Nicholas Ionides- We launched Premium Economy Class in August 2015 and it has been well received by our customers to date, with positive feedback and strong load factors. We do not provide a breakdown of demand on specific routes for reasons of commercial confidentiality, but we are seeing particularly strong demand on long-haul routes.
Our Premium Economy Class is designed to enhance the travelling experience of a traveller who wishes to enjoy more than what is offered in Economy Class, but who may not wish to pay for Business Class. Our studies have shown us that the customer profile for Premium Economy Class is typically different than that of Business Class.
Which routes have seen the best acceptance for the Eco premium? When will the Eco Premium been available all across the network? Which destinations are next on the list?
N.I.- We have been progressively increasing the number of routes on which we offer Premium Economy Class, as more of our Airbus A380s and Boeing 777-300ERs have been retrofitted with the new product. There will also be even more as we start to introduce our A350s in the coming days. Details of the routes that will be served with Premium Economy are to be found on our microsite under siapremiumeconomy.com. However, Premium Economy will not be available on all our routes. For example, the new product will not be on our A330 or our Boeing 777-200/300.
Following the Eco Premium introduction, are they already some adjustment being made to the product to response to passengers’ demand?
N.I.- To your question about whether there have been any adjustments to the product, we are constantly enhancing our product offerings but at this point there have been no significant changes to the Premium Economy offerings since they were launched in August. As mentioned above, the product has been well received by our customers to date.
Amsterdam is the first route to be served with the A350 in Europe. What is the calendar of the routes being next served with the A350?
N.I.- Amsterdam and Dusseldorf will be among the first destinations for our new-generation Airbus A350 aircraft. Prior to the introduction of Amsterdam services, the aircraft will be operated on selected Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur flights on a temporary basis, for crew training purposes. Additional A350 destinations will be announced progressively over the course of this year.
Does SIA start to see the benefits of its new aircraft and network expansion by taking back market shares in transfer traffic?
N.I.- Our investment in the A350s is line with SIA’s longstanding commitment to operate a young modern fleet. The highly efficient new aircraft will offer us the potential to open new routes and better serve markets on a non-stop basis, enhancing our network and further strengthening the Singapore hub. Dusseldorf is one example; in 2018 we will also be re-launching non-stop services to points in the United States using a new ultra-long-range version of the A350, for which we have seven on firm order with Airbus out of our total of 67 A350 orders.