Vistara’s expansion priority for SIA; open to adding new destinations, says David Lim

David Lim, General Manager India – Singapore Airlines suggested that outbound to Singapore was robust and SIA, despite its already vast network in India, serviced by three different brands, was open to adding more destinations to its network. He also shared that corporate travel to Singapore was growing steadily. Excerpts from the interview:  

David Lim
General Manager India – Singapore Airlines

The airline covers key metro cities along with Ahmedabad. 98 Weekly flights and 11 destinations is a substantial enough presence. Where else do you see SIA expanding in the coming months?

India is one of the fastest growing aviation markets in the world with Indian air traveller numbers (domestic & international) steadily rising. This is also reflected in SIA group’s expansion within the Indian market, in the last four decades.

Currently India is served by three airlines – Singapore Airlines, SilkAir and Scoot from the SIA group portfolio. Together, these airlines connect 14 Indian cities to Singapore with over 140 weekly services. We will continue to study new destinations and are open to connecting other Indian cities to our network. Vistara, our joint venture with Tata Sons is growing steadily in the Indian market. As it is managed separately, the Vistara team will be best able to elaborate on their expansion plans.

You said that SIA will continue to study destinations. Are there any destinations in particular that are likely to soon join the SIA network? Where is the next wave of connectivity coming from?

We do not have any immediate announcements to make on the next Indian destinations to join the SIA network. We currently connect to the following cities through our portfolio of carriers:

Singapore Airlines: New Delhi, Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Mumbai and Ahmedabad

SilkAir: Kolkata, Bengaluru, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Thiruvananthapuram, Coimbatore, Kochi, Hyderabad

Scoot: Amritsar, Chennai, Bengaluru, Kochi, Lucknow, Hyderabad, Tiruchirappalli.

 In terms of specifics, what sort of load factors is the SIA clocking, cumulatively?

On a global level, we recorded a load factor of 82.2% in March 2018. We are unable to share route specific data as it is commercially sensitive.

How is the outbound to Singapore shaping up in the recent months? What are some key trends therein? How is the leisure side faring?

India is the one of the three highest source markets for Singapore in 2017. Both leisure and corporate travel to Singapore have been steadily growing. This is testament to the increasing number of weekly flights to Singapore in the last few years. Additionally, India also features in the top five markets for tourism receipts in Singapore.

Media reports suggest that Singapore Airlines is in fray to buy Air India.  Your comments.

Our priority is the further expansion of Vistara. However, we will keep our options open with respect to the proposed divestment of Air India.

Singapore Airlines has been ranked as the world’s best airline by TripAdvisor. It is no mean achievement. What are your comments on this, and how will you further leverage this in the Indian market?

To reiterate our CEO – Mr Goh Choon Phong’s comment – “The award is a validation of the hard work and dedication of our thousands of staff all around the world, who focus their attention every day on ensuring that Singapore Airlines remains competitive on a global level. Our business model is based around three main pillars – product leadership, service excellence and network connectivity. We are continuing to invest heavily in all three areas to ensure we have industry-leading offerings that meet and exceed our customers’ expectations, both on the ground and in the air.”

Singapore Airlines will continue to make holistic efforts in India and other markets; to align our product and service offerings to the customer’s travel needs.

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