Singapore Airlines offers ‘flights to nowhere’

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Photo by Joshua Ang on Unsplash

Industry sources say the sightseeing flights will depart and arrive at Singapore’s Changi Airport

Singapore Airlines reportedly plans to offer sightseeing ‘flights to nowhere’ that take off and land at the same airport. The three-hour round-trip flights both depart and arrive at Singapore’s Changi Airport.

Singapore Airlines has looked into partnering with Singapore Tourism Board in an effort to let customers pay for this travel with government-based tourism credits, according to a new report.

If the flights happen, they would come at a time when airlines are enduring “the biggest crisis that the industry has ever faced”, according to the International Air Transport Association, and seeking ways to get people to fly again.

Although supposed to start late October, Singapore Airlines has yet to make an announcement about the reported flights.

The flights could include staycations at Singapore’s hotels, “shopping vouchers, and limousine ferry rides” as well, according to Stefan Wood, Director at Singapore Air Charter, an aircraft charter firm.

Singapore Airlines has looked into partnering with Singapore Tourism Board, according to the Strait Times, in an effort to let customers pay for this travel with government-based tourism credits.

It wouldn’t be the first aircraft carrier to offer flights that take off and arrive at the exact same location.

Notably, beginning this November through February 2021, Australian airline Qantas plans to offer seven sightseeing flights spanning for 12 hours atop Antarctica. Two flights each will operate out of Melbourne and Sydney, while three other departures will take off from Brisbane, Perth, and Adelaide respectively.

The reported plans come as Singapore Airlines, like the entire airline industry, has seen demand for air travel decline as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The International Air Transport Association said in a statement that “this is the biggest crisis that the industry has ever faced,” and forecasts the nearly 290 airlines it represents globally to lose $US314 billion this year alone.

Singapore Airlines, for example, announced on Thursday that it was going to lay off roughly 4,300 workers, according to a press release. The airline also tweaked its forecast and now projects that it will operate on less than 50% of its normal capacity through the end of its financial year.

“The next few weeks will be some of the toughest in the history of the SIA Group as some of our friends and colleagues leave the company,” Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Phong said. “This is not a reflection of the strengths and capabilities of those who will be affected, but the result of an unprecedented global crisis that has engulfed the airline industry.”

Potential passengers who’ve been surveyed have already expressed genuine interest in taking part in Singapore Airline’s idea. Singapore Air Charter recently surveyed 308 people, and 75% of them indicated that they would be willing to purchase tickets for a “flight to nowhere.”


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