Tours of SIA's training centre take off; new economy class meals for short-haul flights launched

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SINGAPORE - For Isabelle Chan, eight, and her six year-old sister, Natalya, the highlight of their Inside Singapore Airlines (SIA) tour was when they got to serve food and drinks to their mother while dressed in SIA's iconic sarong kebaya.

The two girls were among 500 participants who secured a slot for the first tour session, which was held on Saturday (Nov 21).

Their mother, Mrs Rowena Chan, said: "I thought it'd be good for them to have a chance to experience it behind the scenes.

"I don't think this is normally open to the public, and since there was an opportunity, I decided to go ahead and book this experience for them," added the 44-year-old executive assistant.

The girls donned the sarong kebaya and learnt customer service skills from SIA stewardesses as part of the junior cabin crew experience, one of the add-on options of the tour programme, which provides visitors with a look around SIA's training centre in Changi.

A basic tour ticket to the centre, which is normally closed to the public, costs $30 for those aged 12 and above, and $15 for children three to 12 years old, excluding GST.

The junior cabin crew experience costs $88, excluding GST, and includes the SIA sarong kebaya.

The national carrier is operating four sessions of the Inside SIA tour over two weekends - on Saturday and Sunday (Nov 22) as well as on Nov 28 and 29.

Each session has a maximum capacity of 500 people.

Over 20,000 people had expressed interest in the tour, said SIA chief executive Goh Choon Phong.

"We are going to focus on making sure that whoever visits us gets a great experience," he added.

Despite the overwhelming response, he said the airline has no plans to open up further sessions for now.

As part of the tour, participants get a look at pilot and cabin crew training, such as for emergency situations when the plane lands on water, as well as craft activities like balloon sculpting.

Kate Lai (middle), 3, looks on as Nicole Goh, 7, makes a cabin announcement as they take part in the junior cabin crew experience during the Inside Singapore Airlines tour at the SIA Training Centre on Nov 21, 2020. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

One of SIA's latest training equipment, which simulates situations where the aircraft lands on water, was on display. The large metal container resembles part of a cabin.

It is expected to be commissioned and used for training from next year.

The carrier also launched on Saturday a new range of dishes for flights under 3.5 hours in economy class.

Nicole Goh, 7, posing for her mother Mdm Lim (seated), in her forties, as she takes part in the junior cabin crew experience during the Inside Singapore Airlines tour at the SIA Training Centre on Nov 21, 2020. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Among the food options on rotation are Singapore favourites such as laksa and mee siam, which were not previously available in economy class, SIA said.

The airline has also replaced its plastic serving ware with a new packaging solution, which includes a bamboo cutlery pack and a leak-proof paper box for all short-haul economy flights.

This means that the airline is now able to serve soup and other liquid items, which the previous serving ware could not accommodate.

The first group of visitors to Inside Singapore Airlines, a behind-the-scenes tour of the airline's training facilities. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

In addition, the airline said the new serving ware reduces the amount of single-use plastics on the meal tray by 80 per cent, based on the weight of the items.

There are other benefits, the airline said.

Leftovers on the tray, including the serving ware, will be taken back to ground handler Sats' Singapore facility and converted into pellets that can be used as alternate fuel.

On-site processing of waste reduces about 60 per cent of catering waste and also emissions from transporting waste to the incinerator.

The lighter paper packaging also helps to reduce fuel consumption on flights, SIA noted.

Kate Lai, three, serving her father, Mr Kenneth Lai, 36, as part of the junior cabin crew experience during the Inside Singapore Airlines tour at the SIA Training Centre on Nov 21, 2020. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

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