Singapore Airlines (SIA) announced their plan to start selling “Flights To Nowhere” on September 11. The flights, which will take off from and land in Changi Airport, are slated to start in October 2020. Each flight will last about 3 hours.
While not everyone may relish the idea of flying, it’s clearly an attractive idea to many since SIA isn’t the only airline serving up flights to nowhere. Countries as far ranging as Taiwan, Japan, Brunei and Australia all either have it in the works or have already successfully sold such flights. Perhaps the most ambitious of them all is Qantas and Antarctic Flights’ plan to launch 12-hour flights from November, which will take passengers from Australia to the Antarctica and back to Australia.
A survey by Singapore Air Charter, a private jet service, found that 75% of those surveyed were willing to pay for flights to nowhere. This is assuming that an economy class seat for a ride to nowhere is priced around $288, whereas a business class seat is priced at $588.
Some Singaporeans believe this is a bad or even foolish idea. And it’s not what you may think – these Singaporeans don’t hate the experience flying per se, rather, they are not thrilled about the environmental impacts of flying.
Neighbourhood Greenwatch, an initiative that is an arm of SG Climate Rally, released a statement on 14 September. The group begins by emphasizing that they stand in full solidarity with all employees of the airline industry whose jobs have been affected by the pandemic. They make it clear that all staff, especially “on-the-ground workers” deserve as much support as possible.
They then go on to state that they oppose SIA’s Flights To Nowhere proposal because “it encourages carbon-intensive travel for no good reason”. They are also of the view that the Flights To Nowhere are only a temporary band-aid solution to an ongoing problem, which is the climate crisis. They believe the future of the aviation and maritime industries lie in decarbonising, which will make them more sustainable in the long run. You can read their full statement here.
4 members of Neighbourhood Greenwatch also started a “Save SIA” initiative, which began with a brainstorming session on Telegram. The aim is to help SIA ramp up much-needed revenue, all while staying green. In less than a week, they received more than 500 submissions from the public!
A peek at the proposals reveals ideas like screening movies on planes, a behind-the-scenes tour of the plane’s cockpit, selling airline credits people can use for future flights and an immersive airline-themed dining experience on the planes itself. Interestingly, this is similar to something Thai Airways has already done. This month, they opened a plane-themed restaurant, complete with cabin crew service and aircraft seats.
According to aviation analysts that the TODAY newspaper interviewed, although SIA’s proposed Flights To Nowhere can generate short-term-revenue, passengers are unlikely to be repeat customers in this instance, which means they need long term plans to mitigate the current crisis.
Brendan Sobie, an independent aviation analyst who was interviewed by the same newspaper, said that Flights To Nowhere could help to boost SIA for a while but that ultimately the revenue has to come from the resumption of flights through green lanes the Government can set up for leisure travel.
Whether or not you plan on flying anytime soon, we’re sure that a $500 top-up would be useful for that vacation, whenever it happens. Visit our Facebook post here and follow the instructions to have a shot at walking away with $500 in travel credits! The contest ends on 23 December. So go on, try your luck.