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Wednesday, 13 January 2010

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Singapore Airlines continues to receive accolades

Singapore Airlines again emerged on top in 2009 as favourite airline among business and leisure travellers in numerous international rankings, highlighting its continued focus on product innovation and service excellence.

Singapore Airlines Air bus

The repeat awards that Singapore Airlines has been winning over the years encompass categories such as in-flight entertainment, food and beverages, ground services, safety and company management. The awards reflect the Airline’s philosophy to constantly innovate and keep pace with the changing tastes and preferences of consumers.

The Airline was recently named favourite for frequent business travellers in the annual global poll conducted by the respected Official Airline Guide organisation based in London. In the OAG Airline Industry Awards 2009, Singapore Airlines was voted “OAG Airline of the Year” for the 7th time. In addition, the Airline earned top placing in the following categories: Best Airline based in Asia, Best Europe to Asia/Australasia Airline and Best Transpacific Airline.

Conde Nast Traveler (US), a leading travel publication, named Singapore Airlines “Best Global Airline” for the 21st consecutive year in its 2009 Readers’ Choice Awards.

The carrier also secured the “Best International Airline Award” in the World’s Best Awards survey conducted by the US-based travel magazine, Travel and Leisure, for the 14th consecutive year.

Singapore Airlines earned the “Most-Admired Singapore Company” accolade in the Wall Street Journal Asia, Asia’s 200 Most-Admired Companies survey in 2009, for the 17th consecutive year.

In the 2009 Zagat Airline Survey by the US-based Zagat organisation, Singapore Airlines was the Top-Rated International Airline for Premium and Economy Seating.

Readers of a leading regional travel magazine, Business Traveller Asia Pacific, voted Singapore Airlines the “Best Airline” for the 18th consecutive year. In addition, readers rated the Airline as the “Best Airline in the Asia Pacific” and the airline with the “Best Business Class”, “Best First Class” and “Best Economy Class”. In the Swiss-based Bilanz Survey 2009, Singapore Airlines won the following categories: Best Worldwide Business Airline (fifth consecutive year), Best Airline for First Class and Business Class, Food, Service and In-flight Entertainment.

In AB Road magazine of Japan’s Airlines Top 10 Ranking 2009, Singapore Airlines won in the Best Overall Airline (second consecutive year), Best In-flight Service (second consecutive year), Best Aircraft Products and Best In-flight Meals categories. In Fortune magazine’s The World’s Most Admired Companies 2009 survey, the carrier was ranked 33rd.

In the Business Traveller UK Reader’s Poll Awards 2009, readers rated Singapore Airlines as the Best Asian Airline. It was also voted the carrier with the “Best Cabin Staff”, “Best Economy Class”, “Best Business Class” and “Best Long Haul Airline”.

Readers of the Guardian and Observer newspapers voted the Company as the Best Long Haul Airline (for the sixth consecutive year) and with the Best Business Class.

In the Readers Choice Awards 2009 annual survey by another prestigious travel magazine, Jakarta-based DestinAsian, readers gave top marks to Singapore Airlines in the following categories: Best Overall Airline, Best Airline for Premium Class Travel, Best Airline for Economy Class Travel and Best In-flight Entertainment for the fifth consecutive year.

For the eighth consecutive year, Singapore Airlines was inducted into the Travel Hall of Fame in the TTG Travel Awards 2009. In the Skytrax World Airline Survey Awards 2009, it was named the airline with the “Best First and Business Class”. In Aviation Week’s Top Performing Companies 2009, it was ranked first in the Mainline Carriers category.

In the Readers Digest Trusted Brands (Singapore) survey, the Airline was awarded the “Platinum Award - Airline Category in Singapore” and the “Gold Award - Airline Category in Asia”. In the 2009 Global Reputation Pulse Survey, the Airline was ranked 10th in the “The World’s Most Reputable Companies” category.

At the Securities Investors Association of Singapore 10th Investors’ Choice Awards 2009, Singapore Airlines received the “Most Transparent Company Award 2009” for the fifth consecutive year, in the Transport/Storage/Communications Category.

China plans world’s highest airport

China plans to build the world’s highest airport in its Himalayan region of Tibet, at an elevation of nearly 4,500 metres, state media said Tuesday.

Construction of the airport on the so-called “roof of the world” is projected to start next year at a cost of 1.8 billion yuan (about 260 million dollars), the Xinhua news agency said, quoting a local planning official.

The airport will be built in the Nagqu prefecture at an elevation of 4,436 metres (14,639 feet) — 102 metres higher than Tibet’s Bamda facility which since 1994 has been regarded as the world’s highest, Xinhua said.

Nagqu, Tibet’s biggest prefecture, sits near the middle of the Tibet-Qinghai plateau and is home to a mostly ethnic Tibetan population of about 400,000, the report said.

“With the airport, Nagqu, which is also on the Qinghai-Tibet railway line, is expected to become the centre of an economic hub in the plateau region,” Xinhua quoted prefecture commissioner Tan Yongshou as saying.

The airport, to be located about 230 kilometres (140 miles) north of the regional capital Lhasa, will be the sixth in the remote region which has been ruled by China for almost six decades. Critics of China’s rule say new infrastructure such as the recently completed railway and new airports are allowing its ethnic Han majority to flood Tibet, exploit its resources and consolidate political control.

But Beijing has insisted that such projects will raise the standard of living in the remote region.

Xinhua quoted Nagqu economic planner Xu Jian as saying at a parliamentary session in Lhasa that construction would take three years. “The civil aviation network in Tibet has taken shape. The objective for the next stage of development is to open direct air routes from Tibet to south Asian countries,” he added.

China has ruled Tibet since sending in troops in 1951 to “liberate” the region. Tibet’s spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, fled to India in 1959 as an uprising failed, and established his government-in-exile in Dharamshala.


Tiger Airways advances aircraft delivery

Singapore budget carrier Tiger Airways said Tuesday it ha brought forward the delivery of five Airbus A320 aircraft to boost its expansion into Asia and Australia.

The aircraft will now be delivered later this year and in early 2011 instead of the original dates in 2016, the firm said in a statement.

Standard Chartered Bank has completed a “structured pre-delivery payment financing arrangement” to allow for the early delivery of the aircraft, the statement said. “In view of the opportunities for us to grow our business in both Asia and Australia, we have accelerated delivery of these five new aircraft from their original delivery dates in 2016 to now join our fleet later this year and in early 2011,” Tiger chief executive Tony Davis said.

Tiger Airways currently operates a fleet of 17 Airbus A320 aircraft and is planning to increase that to 68 by December 2015. The carrier, which is 49 percent owned by Singapore Airlines, flies from Singapore to destinations across Asia and to the Australian city of Perth. It also operates domestic services in Australia.

Tiger Airways’ expansion plans come despite tough conditions in the airline industry as the global economy recovers from its worst downturn since the 1930s.

Japan Airlines is expected to file for bankruptcy soon, with the global recession and swine flu pandemic dealing a heavy blow to its efforts to recover from financial turbulence stretching back to its privatisation more than two decades ago.


JAL hits turbulence

Asia’s largest carrier Japan Airlines has hit major turbulence in recent years as the mammoth company repeatedly miscalculated tougher business climates.

Flying to 217 airports in 35 countries and regions, the flag carrier of the world’s second-largest economy is saddled with huge debt and set to file for bankruptcy as early as next week in a court-led rehabilitation process.

JAL’s history has mirrored the bumpy path of the nation’s “miracle” economic recovery after World War II and its subsequent stagnation which started with the so-called lost decade of the 1990s.

The airline was established in 1951, half controlled by the government.


Emirates to launch double-daily services to Jakarta

Emirates airline will advance its existing operation to Jakarta with the introduction of a double-daily service, effective March 01.

Presently, Emirates operates 11 flights a week to the Indonesian capital city. The three additional flights will be operated on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, using the Boeing 777 family of technologically-advanced aircraft in two-class configurations.

The expansion will introduce over 2600 seats per week. The growth in services follows the recent launch of an additional flight in December 2009, underscoring the increased economic and cultural ties between the UAE and Indonesia.

Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations Far East and Australasia, Richard Jewsbury noted: “Emirates is grateful to the Indonesian regulatory authorities for their continuing support. Indonesia is one of our most important markets in the region and we look forward to serving the country’s growing demand for air travel services.

“Indonesia is gaining popularity among Middle East travellers, demonstrated by a 20% annual growth in arrivals from the region. On its part the government has taken several steps to promote inbound tourism including visa on arrival for travellers from many Gulf countries.

Also, several thousand Indonesians live and work in Dubai and require air transport to visit their homeland.

In the reverse direction, Indonesian corporate travellers seek connectivity to key commercial centres in Europe, the Americas, Africa and Middle East to advance their trade.


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