In mid-October, 1937, Malayan Airlines (MAL) was incorporated by the Ocean Steamship Company of Liverpool, the Straits Steamship Company of Singapore and Imperial Airways.
On the 1st of May, 1947, a Malayan Airways Limited Airspeed Consul took off from Singapore’s Kallang Airport on the first of three scheduled flights a week to Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang.
By 1955, Malayan Airways had a fleet including a large number of Douglas DC-3s.
In 1957, the airline went public.
In mid-September, 1963, Malaya, Singapore, Sabah and Sarawak formed the Federation of Malaysia, and the airline’s name was changed from “Malayan Airways” to “Malaysian Airlines,” while only three years later, it became Malaysia-Singapore Airlines.
One year later, the first Boeing aircraft joined the fleet – the Boeing 707, quickly followed by the 737.
In 1972, MSA ceased operations, and was divided into Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airlines System, with the first one keeping all 10 Boeing 707s and 737s, the international routes out of Singapore, and the corporate headquarters in the city.
One year later, the first two Boeing 747s were added to the fleet, and by 1980, various new destinations across the Indian subcontinent and Asia were added to the network.
During the 1980s, new destinations in the United States, Canada, and Europe were added to the network, and new aircraft joined the fleet, Singapore Airlines being the first carrier to provide an international commercial flight across the Pacific, using the Boeing 747-400.
In the 1990s, Singapore Airlines added the KrisFone – the first global sky telephone service, continuing to renew its fleet at the same time, with a US$10.3-billion order for 22 B747-400s and 30 A340-300s in 1994, a US$12.7-billion order for 77 B777s in 1995, and a US$2.2-billion order for 10 A340-500s in 1998.
During the same period, the airline extended its network to include African destinations, like Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban.
In 2004, Singapore Airlines introduced the first non-stop air services between Singapore and the USA, flying to/from Los Angeles and Newark with the Airbus A340-500.
In late October, 2007, the first Airbus A380 joined the fleet.
In 2009, Singapore Airlines was ranked 33rd in Fortune’s World’s Most Admired Companies rankings.
In 2010, Singapore Airlines adds Munich as its latest international destination, inaugurating the Singapore – Munich – Manchester service. Zurich becomes the latest destination welcoming the airline’s Airbus A380 and is the seventh city to be serviced with this superjumbo aircraft. A codeshare agreement is signed with Star Alliance partner Spanair, offering customers several connections to Spain cities. Also, The Passenger Reconciliation System (PRS) is introduced at Changi airport for streamlined online passengers check-in.
Later in 2010, the airline’s award winning magazine SilverKris goes online. Also on this same year, Singapore Airlines signs a memorandum of understanding with Tourism West Australia to promote inbound tourism to that part of the country via Perth airport. During this year, Singapore Airlines is named the Official airline for the Giant Panda conservation collaborative program. The airline signs codeshare agreements with Scandinavia and Caruda Indonesia airlines.
In 2011, Singapore Airlines revealed its plans to launch a low-fare subsidiary. Later this year, the new airline named SCOOT initiates long haul flights with a fleet of four Boeing 777-200 wide-body aircraft. On this same year, the airline adds PayPal as a new payment option for its online ticket sales. Hong Kong becomes the airline’s busiest airport outside Singapore, and the airline launches its inaugural flight to South America through Sao Paulo Guarulhos airport. An agreement is signed with Virgin Australia group of companies.
Later this year, new commercial agreements are reached, this time with Tourism Australia, the Spain Tourism Board, Brussels Airlines and Russian Transaero airlines. On this same year, the Airbus A380 is launched in the Singapore-Tokyo Narita-Los Angeles route. The airline reaches an agreement with Airbus to lease 15 new A330-300 aircrafts and signs an agreement with Boeing for the purchase of eight more B777-300ER aircrafts.
In 2012, Singapore Airlines phased out its last 747 airplane from its fleet, after 40 years of service, this aircraft being replaced by the Airbus A380 on the Frankfurt and New York routes. Also, Singapore Airlines announces new designations and contracts to develop and design the next generation of cabin products and new design concepts for its airport lounges worldwide. Also, a major agreement with Panasonic Avionics is reached for the development of new advanced in-flight entertainment systems.
Later in 2012, Singapore Airlines places a firm order valued at USD 7.5 billion for five more Airbus A380s and 21 new A350s. During this year, the airline acquires a 10% stake at Virgin Australia Airlines and later agrees to sell its 49% stake at Virgin Atlantic to Delta Airlines.
In 2013, Singapore Airlines announced the end of its longest non-stop flights from Singapore to both Newark and Los Angeles airports. In September, the airline announced the deployment of the Airbus A380 on some flights to Shanghai airport. Later this year, a new codeshare agreement is announced with Virgin America airlines.In 2013, Singapore Airlines announced the end of its longest non-stop flights from Singapore to both Newark and Los Angeles airports. In September, the airline announced the deployment of the Airbus A380 on some flights to Shanghai airport. Later this year, a new codeshare agreement is announced with Virgin America airlines.
In May 2014, Singapore Airlines announced the upgrade of 19 Boeing 777-300ERs with next-generation cabin products, featuring new seats in all travel classes and the world’s most advanced in-flight entertainment system. The new cabin products were introduced in September 2013, after the delivery of the first of eight additional B777-300ERs ordered from Boeing.
In October 2015, Singapore Airlines signed an agreement to be the launch customer for a new ultra-long-range variant of the Airbus A350 aircraft, enabling the re-launch of non-stop flights between Singapore and the United States. Singapore Airlines has 67 A350-900 XWB aircraft on firm order, and seven of these were upgraded to orders for the A350-900ULR aircraft, which are scheduled to be delivered in 2018.
In May 2016, Amsterdam became Singapore Airlines’ first long-haul destination of its first A350-900 aircraft. Singapore Airlines took delivery of the aircraft in March 2016 and, prior to the launch of long-haul A350 services, the airline has been operating the aircraft on select Hong Kong, Jakarta and Kuala Lumpur flights. The A350 aircraft has a three-class configuration, with 42 seats in Business Class, 24 seats in Premium Economy Class, and 187 seats in Economy Class, and offer passengers an improved traveling experience with features such as larger windows, higher ceilings, and lighting designed to reduce jet lag.
In February 2017, Singapore Airlines placed firm orders for 20 Boeing B777-9s and 19 Boeing B787-10s, for fleet growth and modernization through the next decade. The Boeing B777-9s are due for delivery from 2021, and the Boeing B787-10s for delivery from 2020. Singapore Airlines became the 787-10 launch customer in 2013 when it placed an initial order for 30 Boeing B787-10 aircraft with the first aircraft to be delivered in 2018-2019.
In May 2017, Singapore Airlines became the first Asian carrier to offer TSA Precheck, which enables low-risk known travelers to enjoy the programme’s benefits such as a separate lane for security screening during departure. Enrolment in the TSA Precheck programme is open to US citizens and lawful permanent residents, but non-US citizens may also enjoy the benefits of the programme through various Customs Border Protection (CBP) trusted traveler programmes, such as NEXUS, Global Entry, and SENTRI.
The only incident that lead to passenger deaths involving a Singapore Airlines flight occurred in October, 2000, when a Boeing 747-400 crashed at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport (now Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport) in Taiwan, killing 83 of the 179 people on board. Previously, there has been a hijacking in March, 1991, but the hijackers were killed when the plane was stormed by the Singapore Special Operations Force, and no passengers died.