Singapore Airlines (SIA) revealed plans to offer free unlimited WiFi to economy and premium economy class passengers from July 1. To access this benefit, travellers must be members of SIA’s rewards programme, KrisFlyer. With this move, SIA is set to become the first airline to provide free unlimited WiFi across all cabin classes and nearly its entire aircraft fleet.
Currently, about 95% of SIA’s fleet offers inflight connectivity, with only seven older Boeing 737-800 planes lacking WiFi capabilities. These planes are scheduled for retirement in the coming years.
At present, KrisFlyer members in the economy and premium economy classes receive two and three hours of free WiFi, respectively. Free unlimited WiFi is already available to passengers in Suites, First and Business classes, as well as to SIA’s Priority Passenger Service Club members and supplementary cardholders across all cabin classes. An SIA spokesperson said…
“With our onboard WiFi, our customers are able to stay in touch with their loved ones, post photos on their social media channels or keep updated on the latest news. The inflight WiFi speed and experience might differ from the ground network, and is dependent on the number of concurrent users and the type of activity performed on a customer’s device.”
SIA’s CEO, Goh Choon Phong, also shared plans to enhance the airline’s offerings for passengers. For example, new Boeing 777-9 planes, expected to be introduced in 2025, will feature improved seats across all cabins, creating an “industry-leading” product upon launch.
During the pandemic, SIA expanded its network to reach approximately 80% of its pre-Covid-19 capacity, while airlines in the Asia-Pacific region as a whole have only recovered to just over 50% of their pre-Covid capacity, according to Goh.
SIA subsidiary Scoot’s recent acquisition of the Embraer E190-E2 aircraft, which has 112 seats, will enable the budget airline to access “smaller points, particularly in the region”, thus connecting Singapore and the hub to new destinations in Southeast Asia.
Goh expressed gratitude for the strong support from shareholders during the pandemic’s early days, which allowed the company to raise S$15 billion (US$11.1 billion). He also highlighted SIA’s decision to continue operations to serve its customers and the nation, despite many airlines ceasing international operations due to a lack of demand. The airline also continues to honour customer refunds despite the direct impact on its cash reserves, reported Channel News Asia.
Adding that SIA’s employees have “taken quite a bit of sacrifice,” not just in terms of a pay cut, Goh pointed out that travel operations could not have resumed as quickly if not for their readiness. Goh added…
“Ironically, during that period, many of the ground (staff) were working sometimes even harder. Because we were doing a transformation to really get the organisation ready for the restart, in terms of reviewing the processes, reviewing workflow to ensure that we are even better than before.”
Earlier this month, SIA announced a record annual profit of S$2.16 billion after three consecutive years of losses. Eligible employees could receive around eight months’ bonus, the airline said.
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