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Interview

Dhaka Toasts A350-900

As the Singapore Airlines has added a new generation aircraft to its fleet to increase flights, COLORS Advisory Editor, Ziaul Karim, along with feature writer, Tamima Islam, had a talk with General Manager of the Airlines George Robertson about the launch of the A350-900 on the Dhaka-Singapore route.

George Robertson sees a bright future for Singapore Airlines in Dhaka.
Photographer: Kazi Mukul.

With a third terminal getting ready at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, it’s no secret that Bangladesh’s aviation industry is booming; passengers from Dhaka fly in increasing numbers by the year and spending capabilities seem to be on the rise as well. This is why industry giants are constantly finding ways to grab hold of these opportunities by catering to their consumers in the best way possible.

In this context, Singapore Airlines (SIA) has launched a new medium-haul aircraft on the Dhaka-Singapore route, the A350-900, which seats up to 303 passengers at a time. With 40 exclusive seats in business class, passengers can enjoy a fully-reclined seat, unlimited Wi-Fi, local and international entertainment, and a 6-way head-rest. One of the best features of it is the Premium Economy section, which is less expensive than business class but more comfortable and private than the economy.

In reply to why the airlines decided to launch this product in Dhaka, SIA General Manager George Robertson refers to the rapid growth of Bangladesh’s economy and traveling population.

‘We recognize that Bangladesh has grown over the years. Since we’ve been here, outbound flights have increased significantly,’ he says. ‘We’re also a company with a history of firsts, and we wanted to make sure to be the first to launch one of the most cutting-edge aircraft in, what we believe is, a promising route.’

SIA was the first airlines to fly the world’s largest commercial aircraft, A380, back in 2007. The airlines recently became the first to launch the longest non-stop flight from Singapore to New York, and the first cabin crew to feature in the waxworks of Madame Tussauds, London.

Apart from being a product of an evidently flourishing brand, the A350 is one of the eco-friendliest aircrafts out there. With a carbon footprint of 25 per cent lower and noise footprint of 40 per cent lower than previous generation aircrafts, this energy-efficient aircraft is truly a vehicle of the future. ‘For a city like Dhaka, with pollution taking part in all realms, this aircraft is definitely a game-changer,’ adds the SIA official.

Customer experience is what makes Singapore Airlines different, says George Robertson, as he refers to the call center experience, up until the Singapore Airport itself. He lists, the airlines’ top-of-the-line business class service and premium economy on selective routes include individual meal selection known as ‘book the cook’, with luxury items such as the Lobster Thermidor. Each route has a customized experience, from local entertainment to local cuisine, so that travelers can begin their experience from the moment they start their journey, he points out.

Singapore Airlines depends on its frequent flyer profiles where it has a 360-degree interaction with its customers. This helps the SIA better understand the needs of the customers and adapt quickly to market demands to provide the best services possible, and try to reduce flaws. ‘Technology is changing our industry,’ Robertson has observed. ‘We aim to be the world’s leading digital airline one day.’

Apart from Singapore being a frequently traveled destination from Bangladesh, he names Bali, Sydney and Los Angeles as popular destinations from Dhaka via the Singapore Airlines. ‘We bring our customers closer to the world, and hope to soon be Dhaka’s airline of choice,’ he concluded.

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