Singapore Airlines’ (SIA) Cabin Crew Leaders Programme (CCLP) has been accredited with the Workforce Skills Qualifications (WSQ) Advanced Certificate in Service Excellence under the nationally-recognised WSQ Service Excellence Competency Framework supported by SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG). About 200 newly-promoted SIA cabin crew leaders are expected to benefit from this certification each year.
All cabin crew who complete the CCLP will now be awarded a WSQ Advanced Certificate in Service Excellence. This accreditation ensures SIA’s training programme is benchmarked against national standards and reinforces the importance of SIA empowering its employees with nationally-recognised certifications for training and development. The new accreditation builds on the accreditation of SIA’s Cabin Crew Readiness Programme (CCRP) to the WSQ Certificate in Service Excellence in 2013.
The CCLP is a six-week programme under which cabin crew who are promoted to the rank of Leading Steward/Stewardess undergo customised classroom and on-the-job training. The training includes a wide variety of modules aimed at developing their leadership capabilities, coaching skills and customer relationship management competencies. Cabin crew are also trained in First Class customer service, in-flight sales, documentation procedures and service recovery techniques. The programme is designed to equip them with the knowledge and skills required to effectively perform their role as a team leader on SIA flights.
“In a time when businesses are undergoing transformation, it is critical for employers to embrace skills development as one of the core business strategies. SIA is an exemplary company which has been consistently investing resources to develop the skills of its employees. The accreditation of the CCLP to the WSQ Advanced Certificate in Service Excellence emphasises SIA’s commitment to empower its employees so as to maintain its competitive advantage. SSG will continue to work closely with our partners to enable more Singaporeans to stay relevant in today’s fast-changing economy,” said Dr Gog Soon Joo, Group Director, Training Partners Group, SkillsFuture Singapore.
“Staff training and development is a cornerstone of Singapore Airlines’ corporate philosophy and part of our continuous pursuit of excellence. The latest WSQ certification is an important step in providing further recognition of our cabin crew as service professionals and service leaders. It is an important motivator as our senior crew demonstrate the highest standards of performance and are role models to our new staff,” said Singapore Airlines Senior Vice President Cabin Crew, Mr Tan Pee Teck.
Singapore to Manchester – which is newly direct, replacing the former route that stopped in Munich on the way to Manchester. The Manchester flight now continues on, somewhat bizarrely, to Houston.
Airbus A350-900. Singapore Airlines has nine of these in its fleet, and another 58 on order.
Krisflyer – although this acts as a codeshare with both Virgin Australia and Air New Zealand, so points can be allocated to their respective schemes.
Business, in seat 16K.
A scheduled 14 hours, 25 minutes, but it lands 20 minutes early.
Five times a week.
The leather seats – which are being rolled out across the whole Singapore Airlines long haul fleet – line up in a 1-2-1 formation and each one feels like a chunky, self-contained fortress. There's a 60-centimetre pitch, and 28-centimetre width – more than enough to comfortably wriggle around in. There are also lots of little storage cubby holes around it, plus several adjustable lights and easily jabbed recline controls.
The allowance of 40 kilograms for checked baggage – spread across as many cases as you like – is relatively generous. The carry-on allowance of two pieces, with a maximum weight of seven kilograms a piece, seems on the stingy side though. I take on one that is significantly more than that, but it's not weighed, so rigorous enforcement doesn't seem to be a priority.
In the seated position, it's hard to imagine business class done better. It feels more like a little room than merely a seat. Converting it to a lie-flat bed is a conundrum that nearly everyone requires assistance with. As with all business class beds, there are compromises, and here it's a lack of mattress-like cushioning plus forcing the feet into a small gap at the end rather than letting them spread free.
Socks, blankets, eye masks and slippers are provided, although oddly ear plugs aren't – which doesn't matter too much as the A350 is extraordinarily quiet.
The 18-inch LCD screen is hugely impressive, as is the intuitive touchscreen handset which makes you feel like airlines have finally joined the smartphone era. The movie selection is large – I count 407 – but the new releases are a bit underwhelming, which is probably more Hollywood's fault. The TV selection is fabulous though, with several complete seasons, including Westworld, Game of Thrones and – the one that keeps me going most of the flight – Veep.
A highly satisfying tournedos steak in mushroom sauce wins out of the three dinner options, and while the accompanying vegetables look a little mushy, they've enough firmness in the bite. The nasi lemak for breakfast is a winner, too. You would be perfectly happy with both meals in, say, a hotel restaurant.
The drinks options don't quite match up to the food – two red wines (including a feisty Robert Oatley shiraz), two whites, a selection of cocktails that seems obsessed with using 7-Up as an ingredient. And the beer selection – Heineken, Tiger or Budweiser – is lazily poor.
Singapore Airlines has a long-standing reputation for service, and it is smooth efficiency that is the hallmark rather than concerted friendliness. That said, the gimmick of addressing every customer by name is clearly drilled in. Most crew are doing their first Manchester flight, so are a little unsure of the food and drink options, but they check when asked and promptly return with an answer.
ONE MORE THING
You can link your electronic devices to the screen if you wish, while extra connectivity comes with the in-flight Wi-Fi, which works remarkably smoothly and costs $US21.95 for the whole flight.
Reputation matters – Singapore Airlines is often regarded as the best in the business, and with good reason. The A350 experience lives up to expectation – and it's particularly impressive from a technological point of view. The overall feeling is of a five-star luxury chain hotel, rather than an edgy boutique joint, though – reliable excellence wins over personality. And letting the hair down occasionally, even if it's just by sticking a craft beer option on the menu, could make it even more impressive.
Twenty-five awards were given out last night to airlines that contributed to the growth and development of the Singapore air hub over the past year, as part of the 12th annual Changi Airline Awards.
The ceremony, organised by Changi Airport Group (CAG) and held at The St Regis Singapore, was attended by Minister for Education (Schools) and Second Minister for Transport Ng Chee Meng.
The top five airlines and airline groups, based on passengers last year, were Singapore Airlines Group, followed by Jetstar Group, AirAsia Group, Cathay Pacific Airways and Lion Group.
Singapore Airlines Group also topped the list for the highest cargo volume, followed by Cathay Pacific Airways, FedEx Express, China Airlines and EVA Air.
The partner of the year award was given to delivery firm DHL Express, which in October launched its fully automated South Asia Hub at the Changi Airfreight Centre.
The $140 million facility, the firm's largest infrastructural investment here, tripled DHL's cargo-handling capacity to 628 tonnes during the peak processing window, and increased its parcel-sorting speed to 24,000 shipments and documents per hour - a sixfold improvement.
CAG chief executive Lee Seow Hiang said Changi Airport will "continue to transform" to meet future challenges. "We will do so by catering supply for future growth, as well as working with our partners to grow sustainable demand for aviation services."
He mentioned the Airport Collaborative Decision Making initiative as an example of Changi Airport adding capacity to the airport ecosystem.
The initiative has enabled a reduction of 90 seconds in the average taxiing time for departing flights during peak hours, which has translated into fuel savings for airlines.
Mr Lee said CAG is pursuing avenues for "sustainable growth" with its partners in the long term, such as growing new passenger segments for airlines.
"These include meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions, fly-cruise out of Singapore, and low-cost long-haul travel such as forthcoming services by Scoot and Norwegian to Athens and London respectively," he said.
Last year, Changi Airport handled a record 58.7 million passengers, a growth of 5.9 per cent year-on-year.
The airport, which also added four new airline partners and eight new city links last year, is expected to receive 60 million passengers this year.