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Singapore Airlines keen on overseas hub; terms India as key growth area

Singapore Airlines Ltd. is committing to a strategy of working with international partners and establishing overseas hubs after the pandemic exposed the financial dangers of not having a domestic air travel market, reports Bloomberg.

The airline is open to opportunities and will evaluate potential synergies, CEO Goh Choon Phong said in an interview with Bloomberg News on Tuesday.

“We realized that without a domestic market has its challenges,” Goh said. “That’s why we have the multi-hub strategy. We establish an external hub, whereby we hope we can then participate in the growth from that market.”

Goh, a 58-year-old industry veteran who joined Singapore Airlines in 1990 and became CEO in 2011, is trying to guide one of Asia’s most pre-eminent carriers out of the toughest period in its history. This time last year, the airline had just announced a record annual loss and was flying only a few thousand people a month compared with as many as 2 million passengers in pre-Covid times. Unsure when the situation might improve, Singapore Airlines had to raise billions of dollars to get through the crisis.

In the interview, Goh highlighted India as a key growth area, saying it is expected to become the world’s third-biggest aviation market by the middle of this decade, if not before.

Singapore Airlines teamed up with Indian conglomerate Tata Sons Pvt. to form full-service carrier Vistara, which started flying in 2014. Vistara now serves nine overseas destinations and 31 in India, though it has yet to make a profit.

“India is obviously a very important one because it’s going to be massive,” Goh said. “We want to continue to look at scaling up Vistara and ensuring that it grows well.”


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