SINGAPORE: In a bid to recapture its title as the world's best airline, national carrier Singapore Airlines (SIA) will collaborate with four organisations to bump up its technological capabilities.
The airline on Monday (Jan 29) unveiled partnerships with the National University of Singapore (NUS), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Economic Development Board (EDB) and Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS), under SIA's digital innovation blueprint.
Representatives from the four organisations as well as the airline marked the launch of the partnerships at a ceremony at the Singapore Airlines Training Centre, attended by Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S Iswaran.
The partnerships' focus is to build capabilities to increase efficiency through digital technology as well as to develop new business opportunities.
One of the key agreements signed was the Master Research Collaboration Agreement with A*STAR to identify and develop applied research partnership opportunities. It includes research fields in areas such as data analytics, Internet of Things, and virtual and augmented reality to boost the efficiency of maintenance processes.
Its goal is to develop smart solutions that help lower maintenance costs, decrease aircraft delays, and aid the airline in enhancing service standards.
"(The agreement) will allow SIA to leverage technology such as video and data analytics, virtual and augmented reality, and automated technologies to boost the efficiency of airline operations," said Professor Tan Sze Wee, executive director of A*STAR's Science and Engineering Research Council. "Such joint innovation partnerships will position Singapore's aviation sector well in future."
As part of the national carrier's plans to boost its digital capabilities this year, a Digital Innovation Lab will be set up to enable SIA staff to work with innovative companies to stimulate new ideas and facilitate collaboration in a creative environment.
"Our partnerships with these key agencies also signify our commitment to developing Singapore as a digital hub in the wider aviation and travel industry,” said SIA CEO Goh Choon Phong. “With the launch of our digital innovation blueprint, we aim to be the leading digital airline in the world.”
USING DIGITAL TECH TO FINE-TUNE OPERATIONS
Giving examples of how SIA's push towards digital technology - which is worth "hundreds of millions of dollars over a multi-year period" - will help serve its customers better, Mr Goh explained: "For example, with our collaboration with A*STAR, we’ll be looking at things like predictive maintenance, which will mean fewer delays for our aircraft," he said.
"We’re also looking at ... technologies, information and data that will help us understand our customers better," he added. "We have done some of that already through our customer experience management systems, and we’ll be doing much more.
"As we get to know the experiences of our customers on board better, we are now able to serve them in ways which they like. We now know better their favourite drinks, their favourite reading materials, and more," said Mr Goh.
The airline has already started working with its partners to better understand its customers' travel patterns by using data analytics, and to adapt its marketing strategies accordingly.
For example, instead of sending out promotions via mass email, the airline can now be more targeted by studying customers' previous travel patterns, Mr Goh said.
SIA is also using data analytics in its recruitment process to hire staff who are "more attuned" to passenger service, he added.
"Those are just some of the developments we’re considering, in terms of applying existing technologies to help be more relevant to our customers in the travel space."