15 May, 2024

The Hon. J.S. LEE (Deputy Leader of the Opposition) (18:01): I move:

That this Council—

  1. Congratulates Singapore Airlines for 40 years of successful operation in Adelaide;
  2. Acknowledges Singapore Airlines as Adelaide’s longest serving international airline;
  3. Recognises the significant impact Singapore Airlines has on the visitor economy, international students market, international trade and exports sector over the last 40 years;
  4. Notes Singapore Airlines has played a pivotal role in South Australia’s COVID pandemic recovery and was one of the first international airlines to reintroduce flights in mid-2020 to help repatriate South Australians and to also transport South Australian exports to global markets; and
  5. Commends Singapore Airlines for its long-term commitment to work in partnership with Adelaide Airport and recognises the airline’s important contributions to the tourism, transport and aviation sectors in South Australia.

As Shadow Minister for Tourism, Hospitality and Multicultural South Australia, it is a great honour to congratulate Singapore Airlines for reaching 40 years of outstanding services in Adelaide this year.

This anniversary is a significant milestone, not only for Singapore Airlines but also for South Australia because it demonstrates that our state is competitive on the global stage, having an international airline committed to transporting passengers and commodities in and out of Adelaide and making us better connected with the rest of the world.

Singapore Airlines flies to 76 international destinations in 32 countries on five continents from its primary hub at Singapore Changi Airport. Widely renowned as one of the world's best carriers, the airline is ranked as a five-star airline by Skytrax and has also been ranked as the world's best airline five times. In 2023, Singapore Airlines was named the world's best airline at the 2023 World Airline Awards.

Naturally, Singapore Airlines prides itself on the attentiveness and high service levels offered by all its staff to every single traveller, no matter their class of travel. This is one of Singapore's key cultural strengths and is a matter of huge pride.

I believe some of us who have previously had the pleasure of flying with Singapore Airlines may have a unique experience or a special Singapore Airlines story to share. Today, I would like to highlight one of my memorable trips with Singapore Airlines. Honourable members may recall there was a devastating earthquake in Nepal back in April 2015. The Nepalese community in South Australia informed me that the economic and social conditions in Nepal had not fully recovered after the earthquake. Many travellers were concerned about safety and uncertainty in the affected areas of Nepal.

With the valuable advice of the Honorary Consul-General of Nepal in Adelaide and many Nepalese community leaders, I made a decision to embark on a study tour, with the aim to help rebuild Nepal, by visiting Nepal in 2016. I was very grateful that 12 delegates from various businesses and professional backgrounds joined me on that mission. One of the delegates was Yean-Nee Shortland, who works for Singapore Airlines.

When Singapore Airlines found out that our delegation would be making humanitarian visits to disadvantaged schools, charity groups and orphanages, Singapore Airlines generously provided additional luggage space for the delegation so we could take blankets, stationery and useful items from Adelaide to Nepal. I want to place on record my very sincere thanks to Singapore Airlines for their outstanding support and generous services.

Singapore Airlines is one of the premier international airlines operating in Adelaide, and its presence here has had a longstanding and significant positive impact on our economy, tourism industry, export sector, international students market and South Australian community. Not only is it South Australia's largest carrier of South Australians and international visitors, Singapore Airlines provides essential logistic management services, transporting precious cargoes of fresh produce and consumer products in and out of South Australia.

Singapore Airlines has a long history dating back to 1941 when it operated as Malayan Airways Limited and then as Malaysia-Singapore Airlines from 1966. In 1972, Malaysia-Singapore Airlines decided to have its own identity and branched into two separate airlines: Malaysian Airline System and Singapore Airlines as we know it today.

Forty years ago, Singapore Airlines' inaugural service landed in Adelaide on 31 March 1984, less than 18 months after the opening of Adelaide Airport's international terminal. This makes Singapore Airlines Adelaide's longest serving international airline.

Since 1984, Singapore Airlines has strongly supported the South Australian market and was a ground breaker when it introduced one-stop connections to Europe and the UK from Adelaide, removing the need to travel interstate to Sydney or Melbourne before flying internationally. In December 2018, Singapore Airlines chose Adelaide as its global launch port for its brand-new aircraft with the inaugural flight of the Airbus A350-900 from Singapore to Adelaide.

Singapore Airlines has strongly supported the South Australian market for four decades and has operated continuously, other than for a short period at the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020.

We were incredibly grateful that Singapore Airlines was one of the first international airlines to reintroduce flights in mid-2020 and helped repatriate many South Australians who had been stranded overseas and were desperate to return home during the pandemic. It also played a pivotal role in supporting exporters to maintain a reliable supply for overseas markets during the pandemic.

As I am out and about in our community, members have shared their delight with me that Singapore Airlines has increased its services over the last few years to meet the growing demand, with passenger capacity continuing to expand as we welcome more and more international visitors and tourists back to our state. Singapore Airlines, while already operating seven weekly departures from Adelaide to Singapore, will be increasing this service to 10 flights per week from October 2024.

Singapore Airlines has continued to push for increased capacity into Adelaide and has seen the largest change in seat capacity of all major Australian destinations. By November of this year, Singapore Airlines estimates that the seat capacity will rise to 159 per cent of pre-COVID levels in Adelaide, while all other major cities will only just rebound to pre-COVID levels. There is no doubt that Singapore continues to be a vital market for South Australian tourism and exports.

Data from Tourism Research Australia shows that South Australia welcomed 15,000 visitors from Singapore in the year ending December 2023, representing 32 per cent of all international visitors into South Australia. This makes Singapore South Australia's fourth largest market in terms of visitor expenditure.

The South Australian Tourism Commission reported that the tourism expenditure of daily direct Singapore Airlines flights is estimated to generate $96 million for the state per year. Data from the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics shows that 6,186 tonnes of freight travelled between Adelaide and Singapore in 2022, representing 54 per cent of all freight in and out of South Australia. This is a great way to support our exporters in South Australia. Additionally, Singapore has ranked consistently in the top 20 countries of origin for international students in South Australia, contributing to a growing Singaporean community in our state.

Since 2015, Singapore Airlines has partnered with the South Australian Tourism Commission and the Tour Down Under to enable SATC to offer the participating teams and support crews a seamless flying experience to travel across the globe and into Adelaide to compete in Australia's premier cycling event. In 2024, Singapore Airlines brought 297 cyclists and accompanying support crew to Adelaide to participate in the Tour Down Under. The airline has also been a partner for Tasting Australia, showcasing their commitment to grow inbound and outbound travel into South Australia.

I would like to take this opportunity to commend Singapore Airlines for its commitment and long-term contribution to the South Australian economy, our community and also for their great work, working in partnership with Adelaide Airport to support our transport and aviation sectors. With those remarks, once again, congratulations to Singapore Airlines for reaching a milestone 40th anniversary in Adelaide, and sincere thanks to all the management and staff of Singapore Airlines in Adelaide for their dedication and outstanding service.