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Singapore Airlines

#TBT: Singapore Airlines’ Bumpy Road to the Top

#TBT: Singapore Airlines’ Bumpy Road to the Top
Jackie Reddy

Starting out as an entity formed by a partnership between two steamboat companies and Imperial Airways, Singapore Airlines grew from relatively humble beginnings to become a global force in the long-haul market. 

Today, Singapore Airlines is well-known for its accolades, but, as Simple Flying explores, Singapore’s path to greatness wasn’t always straightforward. The airline owes its beginnings to an alliance between two steamship companies and Imperial Airways, a British commercial airline.

1957 – A Malay Start-up

Initially called Malayan Airways, the airline served destinations in Malacca and adjacent British colonies and grew, from its founding in 1947, to grow and add services across Indonesia and Borneo.

Fortunes of the early carrier were entwined with the region’s political history and, in  1963, “when the territories of Malaya, Singapore, Sabah, and Sarawak combined to form the Federation of Malaysia, the airline rebranded from Malayan Airways to Malaysian Airways,” Simple Flying explains.

Image Source: Flickr

When Singapore exited the Federation of Malaysia in 1965, the airline again re-branded from Malaysian Airways to Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA). Around this time, the airline also purchased its very first Boeing craft, the 707.

1972 – Decision or Bust

The early 1970s proved to be a watershed moment for the then Malaysia-Singapore Airlines. Unable to make a decision over whether to focus on domestic Malaysian routes or to expand internationally, MSA ceased operations and two new carriers were formed: Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines System. The latter would later become Malaysia’s flag carrier.

Malaysian Airline System, Image Source: Wikimedia Commons

This period saw Singapore enter a period of expansion, including the acquisition of two Boeing 747s and the commencement of a Concorde service. The late 1980s would see the airline debut SilkAir, its short-haul service, but by 2004, the carrier became known for offering what was then the world’s longest service: connecting Singapore to New York.

Concorde, Malaysian Airlines Image Source: Flickr

2007 – The Year of the A380

2007, of course, saw the carrier become the launch customer of the A380. With the added room on board, they began experimenting with the luxury suites that’s helped to make Singapore Airlines an industry leader in luxury offerings and dominate the global long-haul market.

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1 Comment

  1. Abyssin

    November 30, 2018 at 6:28 am

    Malayan began shedule service 1 May 1947 and not in 1957.

    Officialy known as MSA from 1 January of 1967 two years after Singapore separated from the Federation of Malaysia. In fact after Malaysian and Singapore governments took over the shareholder majority from BOAC and Qantas in 1966. The two governments had at that time 42.79 per cent of equity each.

    1 october 1972 Singapore Airlines start schedule service under that name with most of the assets of the previous MSA including the 24 boeing aircraft.
    First two 747s received September 1973.
    In 1974 the actual iconic cabin crew uniform was introduced .
    Concorde service on British airways aircraft from January 1976 to December 77 and from January 1979 to October 1980.
    Late 1984 first 747-300 are delivered to SIA.
    February 1989 launch of SIA subsidiary Tradewinds with a flight to Pattaya using a leased MD87, later rebranded as Silkair in February 1992.
    March 1989 first delivery of 747-400 the way to the non stop Singapore-London flight
    2006, with the arrival of the 777-300ER SIA introduce the new generation of First and business class seat a revolution with the 1+2+1 config in J.

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