Discussion Board- Singapore Airlines

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has shown remarkable success surpassing many other major airlines. Being ranked the best airline for over three decades means some ingredients must be connected to its success. This paper answers the question of what the main ingredients of success for SIA are. Also, how their success has been vulnerable and why it is not easy to maintain a leadership position like SIA and still improve. Lastly, what world-class organizations need to do to improve and change?

SIA’s main ingredients for success has been “the three pillars,” as Jick & Peiperl (2011) explains. The pillars are world-class customer service, excellent ground service, and employing the most modern fleet. Furthermore, favorable internal policies, training of their employees have contributed significantly to its success. When the airline started investing in the three pillars, it invested much in the inflight services to ensure customer satisfaction. SIA’s inflight attendants were known as “Singapore girls.” It was an appealing advertisement that even the famous Madam Tussaud’s in London used SIA’s signature outfit as a brand for international travel (Jick & Peiperl, 2011). This gave SIA fame and ranked it at the top.


SIA’s success is also attributed to the most modern fleet that gives customers assurance of space. According to its website, its fleet is the largest, having 58 Boeing 777 planes, whereby there are 31 more on standby if the need to expand emerges. This assures customers that there is a potential capacity to serve them in full. Lastly, SIA has excellent ground service in all their respective stations. SIA has been focusing on improving ground services such as reservations and ticket services. They have trained their service providers and always telling them “show you care,” “Dare to Care.” And “Be Service Entrepreneurs” (538-539).

Despite being the top Airline, SIA’s success has also been vulnerable. As long as it is not the only organization within the airline industry, competition is inevitable. In striving to succeed and maintain the top position, SIA has faced stiff competition from other airlines. The biggest challenge that comes with the competition is other airlines offering low costs to services to gain a competitive advantage over SIA. However, this does not make SIA drop its costs. When this happened, Jick & Peiperl (2011) say that SIA continued practicing the three pillars. They offered customers gourmet foods, smiling hostesses, vintage wine, and onboard technology. The techniques enabled SIA to gain a competitive advantage despite other companies offering low costs.

It might be challenging to maintain a leadership position and still improve because of the competition within an industry. A leader has to be strong to face and beat the competition. Maintaining leadership and improving might be difficult under two circumstances—one when the leader is weak to face the vulnerabilities that come with success. A leader has to be tough to face the challenges to improve an organization. Secondly, if the leader is not positive. Productivity is mainly driven by continuously being positive. Also, to maintain leadership and improvement, continuous customer service improvement is vital as in SIA.

World-class organizations need to emulate SIA to improve and change continuously. The most crucial part is improving customer service because customers serve as the basis of an organization’s success. Choi, Lee & Olson (2015) says that “The airline industry faces economic challenges making it paramount that they provide satisfactory service to customers relative to their expectations.” Besides, they should invest in training and innovation and have strong leadership that can face vulnerabilities with courage and positivity. 


Choi, K., Lee, D., & Olson, D. L. (2015). Service quality and productivity in the U.S. airline industry: A service quality-adjusted DEA model. Service Business, 9(1), 137-160. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.liberty.edu/10.1007/s11628-013-0221-y

Jick, T. D., & Peiperl, M. A. (2011). Managing change: Cases and concepts (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Irwin/McGraw-Hill. ISBN: 9780073102740