General Manager Bangladesh TweeMin Wang says

Singapore Airlines to serve Dhaka 10 times a week from July 19

A Monitor Report 16 Feb, 2017  |    -      +
Dhaka : Singapore Airlines (SIA) which has been operating to Bangladesh for the last 30 years will be serving 10 times a week - up from the current seven flights a week - from July 19, TweeMin Wang, General Manager Bangladesh, Singapore Airlines infomed, while talking to The Bangladesh Monitor at his office recently.

Both the old and the three new services will offer convenient onward connections, but the new ones will specially be helpful to the elderly passengers. Those travelling on the new flights won't have to spend the night on the aircraft, said Wang said.

The new flights will be operated on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, the new flight SQ448 will leave Singapore at 9.40 in the morining, arrivaling 11.45 pm. The return flight SQ449 will depart at 13.25 hrs and reach Singapore 19.35 hrs.

If there is demand, then Wang hoped, by the end of this year, it will be double daily. It's my personal hope, he said expressing optimism, adding SIA always matches capacity with demand.

New destination

Wang said, Stockholm will become the second Scandinavian city in SIA route network from May, when the airline introduces flights to Sweden's capital, via Moscow.

Flights to Stockholm will be launched on May 30 and will be operated with Airbus A350-900 aircraft - the latest addition to the SIA fleet. The new flights will complement SIA's existing flights to Copenhagen in Denmark, boosting connectivity between Southeast Asia and Northern Europe.

SIA currently operates four weekly flights to the Russian capital Moscow from Singapore. From May 30, frequency will increase to five per week and the flights will continue on to Stockholm's Arlanda Airport.

Customers will be able to enjoy SIA's latest-generation cabin products on the new A350-900 aircraft. This includes all-new Business, Premium Economy and Economy Class seats, as well as the award-winning KrisWorld in-flight entertainment system. The aircraft are fitted with 253 seats, including 42 in Business Class, 24 in Premium Economy Class and 187 in Economy Class.

New orders

SIA, which presently relies on A350s and A380s, has agreed to place firm orders with Boeing for 20 B777-9s and 19 B787-10s, for additional growth and fleet modernisation through the next decade.

These orders demonstrate SIA's commitment to continuously upgrade and operate a modern fleet for its passengers' comfort and enjoyment, he said.

The average age of SIA's fleet is seven years and it will come down sharply when the new aircraft join the fleet.

On a query regarding the airline's superb cabin crew, Wang said, SIA's cabin crew's four-month training programme was very rigorous. SIA's menu and wine selection process is also similarly thorough.

Promoting Bangladesh

Wang hopes to promote Bangladesh abroad. I'm encouraged by the growth of Bangladesh's economy and SIA will be part of the growth. We are doing what we can, including bringing in three ad-hoc freighters a week to encourage the growth.

Wang visited Sylhet recently. It's very nice. I was able to see some tea plantations. Not many people abroad know Bangladesh produces such good tea. This needs to be promoted abroad. There could be visitors' centre at the tea gardens.

He takes litchi honey produced in the Sundarbans. There could be a similar centre near the biggest mangrove forest in the world to show visitors how the honey is harvested and processed.

Wang's wife visited a leather factory recently. He said after seeing the amount of efforts go into the manufacture of handbags, she now understands why handbags are so pricey. Factory visits could also be arranged for the tourists, he said, besides promoting natural attractions and heritage sites.

The SIA General Manager said the airline was proud to have flown Bangladesh cricket team during the recent New Zealand tour. SIA even re-arranged aircraft with more Business Class on one of the sectors to accommodate most of them there.

HSIA drawbacks

Among the drawbacks Wang found was the traffic. It's quite messy. Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport was fairly decent and clean, but infrastructure needs to be expanded. It's always a challenge for us to ensure that our flights depart on time.

With the country's economy humming, Bangladesh needs to put resources into HSIA so that it can take up the challenge of the future. He said, those managing the airports can visit airports abroad to see how it is done elsewhere.

Changi airport people visited Sendai airport to see how the Japanese were doing things and incorporated some of the ideas in Terminal 3. Now Terminal 4 of Changi is ready for low cost airlines and they are going for Terminal 5 which will be ready by 2025.

Terminal 4 will have heritage store fronts, gardens, duty free heaven, Wang said, while T5 will be a huge facilities.

Jewel

But the jewel in the crown of Changi airport will be "Jewel." Located in the present car park of Terminal 1 the mixed use area will be shaped like a jewel and has already won awards for its design, he said.

Slated to open in early 2019, Jewel will have two centrepiece attractions - the Forest Valley, a huge five-storey garden filled greenery, and the 40-metre high Rain Vortex, an indoor waterfall.

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