SIA Pulls Out All Stops in Race for Survival Amidst the Pandemic

Ask anyone to name one industry that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the unanimous answer would be the travel industry. Flights cancelled, planes grounded, countless cabin crew and pilots losing their jobs… with the end of this horror story nowhere in sight. At least, until a suitable vaccine is created, tested, and mass-distributed!

What is SIA’s key to survival?

Thankfully, SIA has some tricks up its sleeves to stay afloat. Other than transforming its A380 aircraft into a dining experience, bringing the SIA experience to individual homes, or pushing out the ‘Inside Singapore Airlines’ behind-the-scenes tour, SIA has been pulling out all the stops. Now, they’ve come out with a slew of training programmes which are targeted at corporate organisations. 

Riding on its stellar gold-class service reputation, SIA’s training programmes cover categories such as service excellence, organisational innovation, operational excellence, as well as digital transformation. These will be pushed out through the ‘Singapore Airlines Academy’, a new training department that has been formed for this very purpose.

What’s in store?

The programme had an initial trial run in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where around 25 patient care officers attended a three-day course. Skills like teamwork, communication, and conflict management are various subjects that will be covered, depending on the course framework. Other topics also delve into curating a professional image, where employees will be taught suitable self-grooming techniques. 

The Innovation Programme and Playbook, for example, comprises a two-day course that teaches companies how to build a culture of innovation. All training programmes will be customisable, and conducted by certified SIA trainers. Senior Vice-President for Human Resources Vanessa Ng sees these programmes as SIA’s ways to “contribute to Singapore’s national goal of reskilling and upskilling the country’s workforce”. 

And with the prestigious brand of SIA backing these programmes, how can any company resist? Indeed, as of 9 November 2020, more than 50 organisations have already expressed interest in the training programmes. 

How does this benefit SIA?

On top of other measures to streamline and cut costs, the airline has managed to significantly reduce its losses within a short period of time – from about $350 million a month in July, to approximately $300 million a month now. 

These losses are largely due to the reduction in passenger traffic, with SIA operating at a dismal 9.5% of pre-pandemic capacity. However, more and more good news has been on the horizon – with additional travel bubbles, as well as the upcoming Hong Kong air bubble – which bring more hope to the current situation!

What about the future?

Chief Executive Officer Goh Choon Pong has a positive outlook for the brand, which has been in ‘advanced’ discussions regarding more sale-and-leaseback arrangements for its fleet of aircrafts. In fact, SIA managed to secure around $11.3 billion in fresh liquidity in just the last six months – kudos to that!

However, as the saying goes – it’s never good to rest on one’s laurels. SIA isn’t content to simply stay stagnant, and is continually looking at additional sources that will help them increase liquidity. 

In such a situation, perhaps confidence is also key, with Goh stating that “we [SIA] believe[s] that we [SIA] have [has] one of the strongest, if not the strongest liquidity position among airlines”. 

No one knows for certain what the future holds, but one thing’s for sure – SIA is a fighter, and we can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us.


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