Exclusive by James Wilkinson
Singapore Airlines is set to tackle the Australian outbound conference and incentive market like never before, with the luxury carrier set to embark on a new campaign touting itself as the ‘MICE Airline of Choice’.
Singapore Airlines’ new Business Class
Speaking exclusively to SpiceNews, Singapore Airlines’ regional vice president – South West Pacific, Subhas Menon, said the ‘MICE Airline of Choice’ positioning comes following the recovery of the business travel market.
“MICE is relevant to business travellers and as the economy continues its recovery towards business as usual, our focus on this segment will be keen in tandem,” Menon said.
“This segment of the market is hugely important for Singapore Airlines given our market leading position in premium travel (and) that we are continually looking to improve our product offering in the premium and luxury space will no doubt be a key factor in the reckoning,” he said.
Menon said the new campaign was coming not only on the back of the MICE market recovery, but also Singapore’s advancement with several major new developments, including Resorts World Sentosa and Marina Bay.
“As Singapore is an even more attractive MICE destination with the integrated resorts, we will be working with the Singapore Tourism Board and specialist agents to promote our value proposition,” he said.
“We will be touting Singapore Airlines as the MICE Airline of Choice with our 98 flights weekly from five ports in Australia to some 80 destinations in the world through Singapore.
“We have planned several familiarisation programs with various MICE specialists to various destinations such as Singapore, India and within the exotic Asian network of our sister airline SilkAir.
“We keep a keen watch on upcoming events and will be creating exciting offers to promote these,” he said.
Menon said in a sign of things to come, the MICE market has been picking up for Singapore Airlines “albeit slowly”.
“With many companies opting to cancel or simply go without corporate conferences and incentives in 2009, we sense a pent-up demand from this segment in 2010,” he said. “Certainly enquiries for MICE travel has begun to flow in.
Menon also said Singapore Airlines is performing considerably better on Australian routes than this time last year in another positive sign the aviation market is heading towards a full recovery.
“The Australian operating performance for Singapore Airlines at present is a lot stronger than it was this time last year,” he said. “We are now seeing a slow, yet encouraging growth in demand as a result of the turnaround in the economy.
“Inbound traffic is also picking up, (while) seat factors have risen respectably and yield is on the mend since the discounts of 2009 are no more,” he said.
One cabin in particular creating significant interest for business travellers, Menon said, was Singapore Airlines’ revolutionary Business Class, which made its debut on the Airbus A380’s inaugural flight in October 2007.
“The SIA Business Class is the most value we can provide for long-haul international travel when you consider that we also fly through Changi, the world’s most renowned airport with our latest lounges,” he said.
“Our business class seats are the widest in its class, unfolding to the widest available full-sized bed… the objective was to provide as comfortable a ride and as pleasant a rest as possible for business travellers.
“The TV screen is also the widest available and the entertainment system is state-of-the-art to provide for a complete travel experience.
“Additionally, all the conveniences a business person looks for in an office can be found in our unique centralised business panel offering in-seat power supply and USB ports, so travellers have complete control over what they do and their travel time,” he said.
Alongside the increased interest and bookings for Business Class, Menon said demand has been strong across the board for the airline.
“We are seeing an increase in uptake across all our routes at present,” he said. “The strong Australian dollar coupled with the faster than expected business recovery here has awakened demand on all long-haul routes from Australia including to Europe.
Last but not least, on the topic of increased services ex-Australia, Menon said now new cities are planned to be added at this stage, however the airline remains committed to launching trans-Pacific services, a route Singapore Airlines has been pushing for access to over the last decade.
“We are not planning new routes or new flights from Australia in the immediate future as we continue to nurture a fragile recovery,” he said. “Flights from Australia on the Trans-pacific route remain an unfulfilled ambition.
“Whenever this is allowed, we can plan to introduce our competitive product on this route as well,” Menon said.
For bookings on Singapore Airlines, www.singaporeair.com.au