Singapore Airlines sees lot of growth in Bangladesh
George Robertson, General Manager Bangladesh says
- A Monitor Report01 Oct, 2019 | 1824 Views|-+
George Robertson, General Manager Bangladesh, Singapore Airlines
Dhaka : Singapore Airlines sees a lot of growth in Bangladesh, economic opportunities and a chance to become more prosperous. "We want to be a good partner for the passengers here and encourage them to look to us overseas for both leisure and business travel."
George Robertson, General Manager Bangladesh, Singapore Airlines said while talking to The Bangladesh Monitor recently.
George Robertson said, Singapore Airlines (SIA) is witnessing a growth in Bangladesh for premium class passengers. Now, there are more discerning customers who appreciate finer things in life. They are willing to pay more for extra legroom, larger in-flight entertainment screen and better configuration.
The General Manager said, "Singapore is definitely one of the most popular destinations for Bangladeshis. I think for Bangladeshi passengers, the traffic is half for Singapore and half for other onward destinations of the airline."
The travel demand between Singapore and Southeast Asia is quite strong, he informed.
A large number of Bangladeshis are looking for economic and study opportunities in Australia and New Zealand. Also, the increase in traffic to US from Southeast Asia has led the carrier to launch a new frequency to Seattle from September, the airline's fifth US destination.
Globally, SIA's loads in premium cabins are stronger than ever. SIA offers a unique product that not many airlines do - Premium Economy. However, it is not available in Bangladesh yet. It is available in medium to long-haul flights such as to US, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan and other North Asian and European destinations.
"We have to continually engage the market and educate the agency partners, as well as the customers to improve our premium sales. The airlines well established in Dhaka, are not offering Premium Economy. If we see a demand for it, we will be able to bring our Premium Economy class in Bangladesh as well," said Robertson.
SIA is operating ten weekly flights to Bangladesh since July 2017. And with the right opportunity, the carrier intends to grow the operations further.
For the time being, SIA is looking to capitalise on the ten weekly flights, it is operating in Bangladesh. "During the 33 years we have been in this market, we have observed many airlines come and go. SIA believes in long term sustainable growth. We want to have an opportunity in the neat medium term to grow our footprint more."
SIA has introduced day flights on Dhaka-Singapore route from July 2017, something not many international carriers offer. It is receiving great response from the market.
"It is very convenient to leave Dhaka at lunch time. They can arrive in Singapore by early evening. So people can check-in straight into the hotel without having to spend unnecessary additional hotel stay."
Robertson expressed the need to be more active in educating the market to start daily flights in the future especially for the likes of business travellers. SIA has further goals to increase the frequency to double daily.
SIA has been operating A330 for quite some time here. The carrier is committed to continuously renewing its fleet. Hence SIA is always renowned for having one of the youngest and most modern fleet. "We have already deployed A350 and B787 in many points of India. So we are working with our head office, as well as the airport authority here to bring a new and upgraded product to this market soon."
The market for cargo is very resilient. Year-on-year, SIA sees a good air freight demand from Bangladesh especially in the garment sector. Pharmaceuticals and perishables, such as vegetables, papalo fruits, jackfruits and mangoes are also having a strong demand in cargo. Bangladesh is certainly getting on the world map, said Robertson.
Recently, a new requirement has been placed by the new governments that cargo must go through seven screening procedures before it can be accepted into the European Union. To this purpose, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh has installed two new RA3 screening machines in Dhaka airport. Within the near term, they are looking to double the capacity with more machines coming.
"This is good news because it will enable us to screen the cargo faster and be able to uplift cargo directly into the EU. At the moment, most of our EU bound cargo is being screened in Singapore."
SIA is aware that it does not always offer the lowest cost in the market. "But we offer something such a service that others are not able to. Nonetheless, we always review our price position in the market." The carrier wants to benchmark the competitive reality to offer value for money proposition to its customers.
Originally from London, George Robertson joined SIA in 2008. He worked at the airline's London station for six years. Then he was posted at Singapore for one and a half years in the network revenue team. Before taking up his new assignment as General Manager, SIA Bangladesh, Robertson also worked in the airline's Gujarat station for two and a half years.