Singapore Airlines is thinking of expanding its network in Bangladesh, buoyed by rising demand for international travel among Bangladeshis and ongoing development works on an increase in capacity of Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
"We are very optimistic that the construction of the third terminal will transform Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport into an international-standard one," said George Robertson, general manager Singapore Airlines, Bangladesh.
While talking to The Business Standard on the sidelines of an event held in Dhaka on Tuesday, he said a lot of progress has been made towards improving airport services and that many lounges have been opened for passengers, which is a good sign.
Many more foreign airlines are also coming to Bangladesh to expand their operations in the wake of rising demand for international travel in the country.
In 1986, Singapore Airlines commenced its operations in Bangladesh with two flights a week, which has risen to 10 by now, he said.
"We are reviewing possibilities of starting operations in Sylhet and Chattogram. A special network planning team is working on the travel trend."
"The aviation sector has a lot of growth potential in Bangladesh," he said, adding the inclusion of new airbus allows airlines to explore new destinations which are not necessarily commercially viable.
Recently, Singapore Airlines began flight operations to Brussels in Europe.
"We continued to review expanding our network in some other cities across Bangladesh," Robertson said.
At present, Singapore Airlines holds a 10 percent market share in Bangladesh's aviation industry while the annual passenger growth on the Dhaka-Singapore route is double digit, he said.
Singapore Airlines has announced that it will start using Airbus A350-900 on the Dhaka-Singapore route from February 1 to provide more comfort to customers.
The announcement was made at a press conference held at Sonargaon Hotel in the city on Tuesday.
This is for the first time that such an aircraft will be introduced in direct flight on this route, said Robertson.
The Airbus will be used in seven out of the 10 weekly flights of the airlines on this route, while the three other flights will use the aircraft that are already in operation, he said.
Through its 10 flights from Dhaka, Singapore Airlines carries passengers to Singapore and onwards to 137 destinations across 37 countries.
Though customers will enjoy modern facilities in the new aircraft, no premium price will be charged for that.
The price for Dhaka-Singapore flights starts from Tk29,000 for Economy Class, and Tk1.25 lakh for Business Class.
The ticket price of Singapore Airlines is relatively higher compared to that of other airlines but the company has no plan to reduce it in the near future.
Robertson said Singapore Airlines is also the first airline in the world to operate the largest commercial aircraft in the world, the Airbus A380, in 2007.
"In 2018, Singapore Airlines re-launched the longest commercial flight in the world between Singapore and New York with a flight duration of 18 and half hours," he added.
Rifat Kader, head of sales and marketing of Singapore Airlines, was present at the event.
The new A350-900 medium-haul aircraft will be fitted with 303 seats across two classes, with 40 seats in Business Class and 263 seats in Economy Class.
Designed with a new user interface that offers a more intuitive user experience and navigation options, customers will be able to enjoy Singapore Airlines' myKrisWorld personalised in-flight entertainment (IFE) now with even greater control.
Customers will receive content recommendations based on their preferences and viewing history, while KrisFlyer members can continue to bookmark and resume content, as well as customise and save preferences and playlists for their subsequent flights. KrisFlyer members and Business Class customers will also have access to additional in-flight entertainment content choices.
Complementing this experience, customers can select their choice of playlists from the SingaporeAir mobile app prior to the flight, and transfer these selections to myKrisWorld by pairing their personal electronic devices with the onboard system via Near-Field Communication (NFC).
Furthermore, customers will have access to high-speed in-flight WiFi service onboard the new A350-900. The aircraft will be equipped with Inmarsat GX Aviation's broadband connectivity system, offered through SITAONAIR.