Singapore Airlines' new CEO Goh Choon Phong took over the role on 01-Jan-2011 (Bloomberg, 31-Dec-2010). The CEO is reportedly considering selling SIA’s 49% stake in Virgin Atlantic, after outgoing CEO Chew Choon Seng stated the investment was “underperforming” two years ago and spokesperson Nicholas Ionides recently stated the carrier would consider “interesting opportunities” for the stake. Virgin Atlantic stated in Dec-2010 that it had received merger inquiries. Virgin spokeperson Greg Dawson stated SIA is “very supportive of our business strategy”. The move would allow SIA to focus on increased competition in Asia, particularly with the expansion of LCC operations in the region, as well as expansion from flag carriers in the region and Middle East.
New Singapore Airlines CEO takes over, considers selling Virgin Atlantic stake
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An agreement between China and the UK to more than double their air service agreement is good timing for both sides. Chinese airlines are finding an imbalance: they are taking delivery of widebody aircraft and more Chinese airlines are flying long haul but traffic rights to major markets – the US, Canada, Germany and France – are becoming depleted. Negotiations to add traffic rights have not succeeded, typically due to the foreign side being concerned about accessing Chinese slots or Russian overflight rights.
The agreement with the UK to expand the number of weekly passenger flights from each side from 40 to 100 reflects considerable pragmatism on the part of the UK: British Airways and Virgin Atlantic are not growing in China, and China is a large growth opportunity. The UK has lagged on Chinese tourism. It was only in 2015 that China became the UK's largest inbound market.
Singapore Airlines to launch Jakarta-Sydney, further intensifying SE Asia-Australia competition
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The Indonesia-Australia market is a logical market for SIA as it seeks to diversify its business. Indonesia and Australia are already SIA’s two largest international markets and Garuda and Qantas are already among its biggest competitors.
Competition within Asia Pacific, including the Southeast Asia-Australia market, has been intensifying. In the current highly competitive and challenging environment airlines are constantly jockeying and exploring new options to improve their position.