SIA-ANA pact will pave way for more flights, Japan destinations for Singapore consumers

The partnership pact between between Singapore Airlines (SIA) and All Nippon airways is expected to boost the Singapore air hub and allow SIA to strengthen its position in the growing North-east Asian market. PHOTO: ST FILE

TOKYO - Singapore consumers can look forward to increased flight options to different areas of Japan, more fare options and shorter layovers under a partnership pact signed on Friday (Jan 31) between Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Japan's All Nippon Airways (ANA).

If given the green light by the authorities on both sides, the joint venture agreement will pave the way for SIA and ANA to pool and share resources on routes as well as discuss and coordinate networks, flight schedules, capacity, fare pricing and inventory.

The pact is expected to boost the Singapore air hub and allow SIA to strengthen its position in the growing North-east Asian market.

The scope of the agreement includes flights between Japan and Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India and Australia. It means ANA travellers would be able to use Singapore as a hub for flights to other countries, thereby increasing traffic to and through Changi Airport.

SIA currently has such deep cooperation only with Air New Zealand, Germany's Lufthansa and Scandinavia's SAS. SIA has also applied to form a joint venture with Malaysia Airlines.

Speaking about the partnership with ANA during a press conference in Tokyo on Friday, SIA chief executive officer Goh Choon Phong said: "Through this partnership, customers would be able to enjoy increased flight frequencies and travel conveniences, and access the strong connectivity at both the Singapore and Tokyo air hubs."

The partnership will likely increase revenue as well for SIA and ANA, which are members of the Star Alliance group of carriers.

Mr Goh said: "We expect that this joint venture will allow us to promote Japan even more and to bring about more traffic. That in itself should bring about benefits in terms of revenue for both carriers."

President and chief executive officer of ANA Yuji Hirako said the partnership makes sense, considering the high amount of traffic between both countries.

Passengers travelling from Singapore to Japan increased 13 per cent from 2018 to 2019 to about 490,000. Last year, about 800,000 passengers travelled from Japan to Singapore.

The partnership will go through only if competition watchdogs in both countries are satisfied that consumers will not be disadvantaged.

Once approval is confirmed, both companies will then be able to embark on more detailed discussions and implementation plans. Mr Goh estimates that the process could take slightly less than two years.

Industry experts said potential benefits to passengers include reduced fares, additional flights within the scope of the agreement, shorter layover due to coordination of schedules, and the ability to combine flights from both airlines in one ticket.

The latest development will deepen SIA and ANA's relationship beyond its current code-share agreement which started in 2004. Under a code-share agreement, airlines can sell seats on each other's flights to provide passengers with a wider choice of destinations.

The SIA Group, which includes carriers SIA, SilkAir and Scoot, currently operates 108 weekly flights to seven points in Japan, including Tokyo's Haneda and Narita airports, Fukuoka, Hiroshima, and Nagoya.

SIA operates 77 weekly services to Japan.

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