SIA eyes revenue from training, shares world-class CX and digital transformation secrets

Following its slew of on-ground initiatives rolled out in recent months, Singapore Airlines (SIA) is looking to add another new source of revenue by creating a new arm that will offer training programmes. The Singapore Airlines Academy will be providing training programmes in the broad areas of digital transformation, service excellence, operational excellence, as well as organisational innovation to external businesses and organisations. 

The academy will also be able to customise training packages to meet the requirements of individual companies and organisations.

Courses that will be offered include service excellence and leadership, handling challenging customers, and innovation programme and playbook.

The courses will be conducted by SIA trainers, who are certified instructors and facilitators with practical front-line experience. According to a press release, the academy will leverage on the wide range of globally recognised skills and competencies that exists within SIA, and also tap on the decades of experience that has been accumulated by SIA staff.

SIA began offering external courses in September 2020, when it collaborated on a customised training programme with Singapore-based Khoo Teck Puat Hospital for its patient care officers. The three-day course included topics such as effective interpersonal communication, customer handling, and learning how to exemplify values such as empathy, warmth and care.

Vanessa Ng, Singapore Airlines senior vice president, human resources, said the launch comes as SIA receives many requests from organisations wanting to know how it attained its reputation for industry-leading service and operational excellence, and to better understand how it achieved "successful digital transformation". 

“Our focus on people development and investment in training has been key to achieving these world-class standards. We are happy to share our competencies by offering specialised training programmes to external organisations. This would also allow us to contribute to Singapore’s national goal of reskilling and upskilling the country’s workforce," Ng added. 

SIA is known for its high quality level of service and has had multiple accolades. In 2019, it was named "Best Airline in the World" by travel site TripAdvisor for the second consecutive year. It also won the award for "World’s Best Airline" in Skytrax’s annual World Airline Awards four times in a row. In 2018, SIA took the top spot in the "World’s Best First Class", "Best Airline in Asia" and "Best First Class Airline Seat" categories as well. 

The launch of Singapore Airlines Academy is SIA's latest effort to diversify its revenue streams. In September, it launched the Discover Your Singapore Airlines suite of experiences, which comprises three initiatives curated for consumers in Singapore: Restaurant A380 @Changi, Inside Singapore Airlines experience, as well as SIA@Home. Both its Restaurant A380 @Changi and Inside Singapore Airlines experience have seen overwhelming responses, with both experiences selling out in a matter of hours since bookings are made available. According to The Straits Times, bookings for the Inside Singapore Airlines, which enables the public to tour the SIA's training centre, were closed within nine hours, with more than 6,800 bookings received.

SIA has seen extensive negative impact from the COVID-19 pandemic this year, following travel restrictions. In its most recent financial report, SIA said its passenger carriage for all its three airlines (SIA, SilkAir, and Scoot) plunged by 99.5%, which led to a SG$1 billion loss, in the first quarter of financial year 2020/2021 which ended on June 2020. Its total revenue also saw a fall of 79.3% year-on-year, from SG$4,102 million in 2019 to SG$851 million. 

In September earlier this year, SIA also cut around 4,300 positions across its airlines. After taking into account a recruitment freeze, natural attrition, and the take up of voluntary departure schemes, the potential number of staff impacted was said to be reduced to about 2,400 in Singapore and in overseas stations. According to SIA, the decision was taken in light of the long road to recovery for the global airline industry due to the debilitating impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, and the urgent need for the group’s airlines to adapt to an uncertain future.

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(Photo courtesy: 123RF)

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