The Past and Future of Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines has been one of the world’s leading carriers for a very long time due to its amazing hospitality, but have you ever wondered what the airline was like in the past and what it aims to achieve in the near future? In this article, we will go through the past, present, and future of Singapore Airlines!

Singapore Airlines
Singapore Airlines © Nafis Al Sadnan via Unsplash

What is Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines is the national carrier of the sunny island of Singapore. Rated the world’s best airline by Skytrax in 2018, Singapore Airlines is well known for its amazing hospitality and its strict hygiene measures during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Singapore International Airlines Airbus A380
Singapore Airlines Airbus A380 © Singapore Airlines

The past of Singapore Airlines

Humble beginnings

On 1 May 1947, Singapore Airlines was founded as Malayan Airways. They often served charter flights using an Airspeed Consul aircraft model from Singapore and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This was shortly followed by newer aircraft in the fleet such as the Douglas DC-4.

Singapore Airlines
A Malayan Air DC-3

A brand-new name

Following the formation of the Federation of Malaysia in 1963, Malayan Airways bought Borneo Airways and formed Malaysia Airways. However, this did not last long because Singapore left Malaysia three years after, forming Malaysia-Singapore Airways (MSA) in 1966. This change was followed by a rapid extension of the fleet, which saw the airline welcoming its first two Boeing aircraft, the Boeing 707 and the Boeing 737.

The sad separation

In 1972, Malaysia-Singapore Airways ceased operations because Malaysia wanted to grow its domestic routes, while Singapore wanted to grow its international routes. This resulted in the formation of Malaysian Airlines and Singapore Airlines. Also, after the split, Singapore Airlines placed an almost immediate order for Boeing 727s, Boeing 747s and Douglas DC-10s.

A partnership with British Airways

In 1977, British Airways partnered up with Singapore Airlines to make a Concorde route between London and Singapore via Bahrain. This was a very exciting moment for all aviation fans over in Singapore because it was the first time a Concorde flew there! The aircraft was also in a very unusual livery. Instead of the airplane just being painted in the classic Singapore Airlines livery, it was painted in a half British Airways, half Singapore Airlines livery. However, this route was ultimately cancelled after a few months due to restrictions of the Concorde in Indian airspace.

British Airways
A British Airways Concorde in Landor Livery

Boeing’s interesting marketing scheme

In 1995, Boeing made a rather unusual decision to buy 17 Airbus A340s from Singapore Airlines. What came as a shock to everyone was later revealed as a marketing scheme when Boeing offered Singapore Airlines a discount on its brand-new 777 aircraft at the time, and no airline can resist a good deal, so Singapore Airlines confirmed its order for the jet shortly after. Airbus was very mad with this deal and considered it a “violation of rules”. They retaliated by starting a campaign saying that four-engined jets are safer than two-engined jets, which was later proven wrong by researchers.

The new Jumbo Jet

In 2007, Singapore Airlines took delivery of the first-ever Airbus A380 in the world! At the time, it was a very big event because the Airbus A380 is the only commercial jet to feature two full decks!

Singapore Airlines
A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777

The future of Singapore Airlines:

The SilkAir merger

A few years ago, Singaporean budget airline carrier SilkAir announced a full merger. This full merger means that all SilkAir assets will be integrated into Singapore Airlines. However, this merger will take place over a period of years. As part of the slow integration, one of the first SilkAir 737-800 aircraft was recently re-painted and re-fitted into a Singapore Airlines livery and cabin.

The new 777x

In 2017, Singapore Airlines announced an order for 20 of Boeing’s brand-new 777x aircraft which is set to enter service in 2022. This order has been stable so far and the delivery is likely going to happen in the next few years.

Business Class on SIA Airbus A380
Business Class on SIA Airbus A380 © Singapore Airlines

Sustainability scheme

In 2001, Singapore Airlines launched a sustainability scheme. Ever since then, Singapore Airlines has ordered more less-fuel-consuming aircraft instead of airplanes that use lots of fuel such as the Airbus A380. Also, recently, Singapore Airlines has started serving its Economy Class meals in cardboard boxes and using biodegradable cutlery instead of single-use plastic spoons.

Have you ever flown with Singapore Airlines? Share your experience below!

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Sohail Sawlani
Sohail Sawlani
Aviation Reporter - Sohail is an avid aviation enthusiast and having been a previous Editorial Intern, is now an Aviation Reporter with Travel Radar. With a passion for Commercial Aviation and the machines behind the operations, he regularly contributes to the News & Analysis sections at Travel Radar. Outside of TR, he can be found on the Twitter realm as 'Planeopedia', posting about all things aviation!



  1. Singapore Airlines used to be the best. But now there is tough competition, especially from Gulf airlines such as Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways. These competitors are able to provide equal or better service at a lower price, so times will continue to be challenging for SIA.


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