SIA embarks on biggest internal overhaul

Work processes and operations being reviewed under three-year turnaround plan

The transformation will be the biggest internal overhaul SIA has ever embarked on.
The transformation will be the biggest internal overhaul SIA has ever embarked on.PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has embarked on a three-year turnaround plan to review work processes and operations companywide, as the airline faces fierce competition that has eroded profits.

More than 100 staff are currently working on 56 projects, including how to further reduce fuel burn and cut in-flight food waste, SIA's chief executive Goh Choon Phong said in a monthly message carried in the airline's in-house newsletter.

The transformation - the biggest internal overhaul SIA has ever embarked on - encompasses initiatives to grow revenue, and enhance organisational and operational effectiveness.

These include plans to significantly increase SIA's investment in digital enablers, review the airline's route network, revamp key commercial processes and introduce more self-service options to not only help ease call-centre volumes but also make it more convenient for consumers, said Mr Goh.

SIA will also continue to invest in new planes and products, he added.

The Straits Times understands that as part of the review, SIA is also relooking flying rosters which could lead to some flights being converted to turnaround services where crew do not need to stay overnight at overseas stations.

The process started in May with the establishment of a dedicated Transformation Office, which has a team of 12 senior staff.


It has been a busy six months, with much to be proud of.

SIA'S CHIEF EXECUTIVE GOH CHOON PHONG, on the review thus far.

This was also the time when Mr Goh first spoke about the revamp just after SIA reported a $138 million loss between January and March - its first quarter in the red in five years.

"It has been a busy six months, with much to be proud of," wrote Mr Goh, adding that while it was still early days, he was happy with the progress so far.

SIA continues to take delivery of new planes, including the Airbus 350, and will also be unveiling its all-new aircraft cabin products next month.

Customers can also expect new seats and other fittings across all classes, as well as an upgraded in-flight entertainment system that will feature first on the airline's A-380 jets.

The airline has also taken steps to broaden its portfolio in the last few years, including entering the low-cost market with the setting up of Scoot, which launched its first flight in 2012.

SIA also has a 49 per cent stake in Indian carrier Vistara, which is in the midst of planning its first international flights.

The changes come amid a tough operating environment that includes intensifying competition, which has hit not just SIA but many other premium airlines as well, analysts noted.

Cathay Pacific, which reported a net loss of HK$2.05 billion (S$359 million) for the six months to June, said in May that it would cut about 600 staff as part of a three-year revamp to reduce costs.

The airline is also reportedly in talks with its pilots to convince them to accept a wage freeze.

Dubai's mega carrier Emirates reported in May that profits plunged 82 per cent for the 2016-2017 financial year, the first full-year profit decline in five years.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 06, 2017, with the headline 'SIA embarks on biggest internal overhaul'. Subscribe