SINGAPORE: Singapore Airlines (SIA) has scrapped its plan for a"flight to nowhere" following a review of factors including environmental implications and financial viability.
Instead, for a limited time, SIA will offer a dining experience on board an A380, conduct tours of its training facilities and provide a home delivery service featuring its first class and business class meals.
The announcement, made by the airline in a press release on Tuesday (Sep 29), comes amid unprecedented challenges for Singapore's national carrier after COVID-19 crippled travel demand worldwide.
READ: The Big Read – Floored by COVID-19, can SIA soar again? Fate of Singapore’s aviation hub rests on it
SIA Group reported the first annual net loss in its 48-year history in May and has said it will cut about 4,300 positions, affecting around 2,400 staff. Industry watchers expect more job losses to come.
On Tuesday, the airline said the three new initiatives were the result of a market study and "comprehensive review, which also considered factors such as the attractiveness of the initiatives to SIA's customers and members of the public, the environmental implications, and their financial viability".
"An idea for a one-off short tour flight, or a 'flight to nowhere', was also initially considered but not pursued after the review," said SIA.
There had been "a lot of interest" in the airline's customer engagement initiative over the last few weeks, noted SIA CEO Mr Goh Choon Phong.
“With COVID-19 drastically reducing the number of flights operated by the SIA Group, we have created unique activities that would allow us to engage with our fans and customers during this time," Mr Goh said.
The suite of services, dubbed Discover Your Singapore Airlines, will be available for booking on SIA's website from selected dates.
KrisFlyer members can use their miles to pay for all three services and also earn miles with their purchases.
RESTAURANT A380 @CHANGI
For two days in October, SIA will operate a dining service on board the Airbus 380 (A380), touted as the world's largest passenger aircraft.
Diners can order from SIA's international cuisine options or pick from a Peranakan menu designed by chef Shermay Lee.
Limited slots for a pre-lunch tour of the aircraft will be available.
Diners will receive KrisShop discounts, a limited edition goodie bag and additional gifts if they turn up in traditional heritage wear, said SIA.
Patrons can also watch a movie while they dine using the in-flight entertainment service.
Restaurant A380 @ Changi will operate on Oct 24 and Oct 25, with reservations opening on Oct 12.
INSIDE SINGAPORE AIRLINES
Coinciding with the November school holidays, SIA will conduct a behind-the-scenes tour of its training facilities with a range of family-friendly activities.
Inside Singapore Airlines will traverse more than 70 years of SIA's history. Visitors also get to interact with pilots and cabin crew, and find out more about the intensive training they undergo.
Children can engage in craft activities and role-play as cabin crew, while also taking home their own iconic SIA sarong kebaya uniform.
Visitors can also try their hand at operating a full flight simulator, taste premium in-flight wine labels and attend a grooming workshop.
A selection of the most popular meals served on board SIA flights will also be on sale.
The tours will be held on Nov 21, 22, 28 and 29, with bookings opening on Nov 1.
Patrons can also show their support from home through SIA's food delivery service.
SIA@Home will offer 10 menus of French, Australian, Japanese and Indian cuisines, featuring business class and first class meals, complete with wine or champagne.
Customers will be provided with a "digital guide" for preparing their meal at home, which includes interactive 360-degree aircraft cabin videos and a specially curated playlist.
They may also opt for the Book-the-Chef private dining experience, which includes a chef coming to reheat, plate and serve the meal.
Bookings for SIA@Home will open on Oct 5.