Singapore Table of Contents
Singapore's supermodern Singapore Changi Airport, a travel and shipping hub, had connections to all parts of the world in keeping with Singapore's "open skies" policy. In 1988 forty-eight scheduled international airlines--twelve more than in 1983--linked the country to 101 cities in fifty-three countries. These carriers offered a total of 1,500 scheduled flights per week to and from Singapore; a total of 12.6 million passengers used the airport in 1988--a 12.4 percent increase over the previous year and the highest passenger volume recorded in any one year since the airport opened in 1981. Nearly half of those passengers came from or went to other destinations in Southeast Asia. A second passenger terminal scheduled for completion in 1990 would increase Changi's passenger handling capability to 20 million annually. The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore managed the facility, which was consistently rated by the travel industry as one of the best airports in the world.
Changi also was noted for its air cargo facilities. The total volume of air cargo surged to 511,541 tons in 1988, an increase of 22.3 percent over the previous year and more than double the volume handled in 1983. Seletar Airport was used for charter and training flights. Additionally, Singapore was one of the most comprehensive airline maintenance and overhaul centers in the Asia-Pacific region, having more than fifty approved airline organizations in 1987.
Singapore Airlines (SIA) emerged from its humble beginnings in 1972 to become one of Asia's, if not the world's, leading airlines with an unparalleled reputation for service and efficiency. Following the division of Malaysia-Singapore Airlines, the airline owned jointly by Malaysia and Singapore between 1965 and 1972, SIA inherited the company's limited international routes and an aging fleet of ten airplanes. By 1988 SIA operated with one of the youngest fleets in the airline industry--twenty-two Boeing 747s, four Boeing 757s, six Airbus 310s, and twenty Boeing 747-400s on order. SIA flew to fifty-seven cities in thirty-seven countries around the globe, carrying 5.6 million passengers in 1988 and filling 74.8 percent of its seats. The airline ranked fourteenth worldwide in the number of passenger-kilometers and twelfth in terms of air freight-kilometers in 1987.
In economic terms, SIA's earnings accounted for 3.6 percent of the 1987 GNP. The airline was one of the country's major employers, providing jobs for one out of every eighty-nine workers in the country in 1987. As part of the government's move toward privatization, shares of its stock were sold to the public in 1985, leaving the government holding 63 percent of the shares, foreign investors 20 percent, and the public, including SIA employees, 17 percent. Another public sale of stock in 1987 brought the government-owned holdings down to 55 percent.
Data as of December 1989