About us

Singapore Airlines - Our History


Even in our early days, as the Malayan Airways of the 1940s and 1950s, we were already blazing a trail with our commitment to service excellence - a commitment we continue to this very day.


The Early Days

Malayan Airways Cabin Crew

Singapore Airlines’ history can be traced back to 1 May 1947, when a Malayan Airways Limited (MAL) Airspeed Consul took off from Singapore Kallang Airport on the first of three scheduled flights a week to Kuala Lumpur, Ipoh and Penang. · Over the next five years, larger capacity DC-3 aircraft were introduced. This meant faster and more comfortable flights, and the extension of services to destinations in Indonesia, Vietnam, Burma (now Myanmar), North Borneo (Sabah) and Sarawak. · Inflight refreshments improved from the original thermos flask of iced water to sandwiches, biscuits and cold cuts plus a choice of hot and cold drinks, and alcoholic beverages served by a lone hostess. Known as “female pursers”, these hostesses are the forerunners of today’s Singapore Girl.


The 1950s & 1960s

Malaysia-Singapore Airlines ticket office

More new aircraft were added to the fleet in the 1950s and 1960s, the period leading up to the jet age. Among these were the DC-4 Skymaster, Vickers Viscount, Lockheed Super Constellation, Bristol Britannia, Comet IV and Fokker F27. · On 16 September 1963, the Federation of Malaysia was born and the Airline became known as Malaysian Airways Limited. In May 1966, it became Malaysia-Singapore Airlines (MSA). · In 1968, for the first time, annual revenue hit S$100 million. The sarong kebaya uniform for the Singapore Girl, designed by French couturier Pierre Balmain, was introduced and three B707s were added to the fleet. · In 1969, the Airline purchased five B737-100s.


The 1970s and 1980s

A Singapore Airlines Boeing B727 aircraft

The 1970s got underway with a bang: on 2 June 1971, MSA’s first transcontinental flight took off for London. · In 1972, MSA split to become two new entities – Singapore Airlines and Malaysian Airline System. · The rest of the decade was devoted to growth and consolidation of the newly established Singapore Airlines. The fleet was expanded to include B747s, B727s and DC10s. To provide more efficient ground services at Paya Lebar Airport, a subsidiary company, Singapore Airport Terminal Services (SATS), was set up. A B747 hangar and airfreight terminal opened in 1977. · The move to the new Singapore Changi Airport from Paya Lebar on 1 July 1981 was a big event. Two years later, Airline House, Singapore Airlines’ corporate headquarters in the Changi Airfreight Centre, was officially opened. · The first Singapore Airlines A300 Superbus went into service in February 1981, and the first B747-300 in May 1983. The first B757 and the first A310-200 arrived in November 1984. In 1989, Singapore Airlines became the first airline to operate a B747-400 on a commercial flight across the Pacific. · Tradewinds, a Singapore Airlines subsidiary, became Singapore’s second airline in February 1989. It has since been renamed SilkAir and has an established network of more than 30 destinations in the region.


The 1990s

A Singapore Airlines Boeing B777 aircraft with a special 50th anniversary commemorative livery

Singapore Airlines commenced operations from the new Terminal 2 at Singapore Changi Airport on 22 November 1990, with the arrival of SQ23 from Amsterdam. In September 1998, Singapore Airlines set new standards in air travel by unveiling a new suite of products and services worth S$500 million across all three classes of travel, offering customers enhanced standards of service on the ground and new levels of comfort, cuisine and entertainment in the air. In 1999, Singapore Airlines launched KrisFlyer, its first proprietary frequent flyer programme, which allows First, Business and Economy Class customers to earn mileage credits.


The 2000s

The arrival into Changi Airport of the world's first Airbus A380 entering into commercial service

In February 2004, Singapore Airlines inaugurated its first A340-500 by setting a record for the world’s longest non-stop commercial flight from Singapore to Los Angeles. The Airline bettered the record just months later, in June 2004, when it launched the non-stop Singapore to New York (Newark) flight. · In October 2006, Singapore Airlines launched a comprehensive suite of new generation cabin products comprising the world’s widest First and Business Class full-flat seat products, a new Economy Class seat, and the next generation of the award-winning KrisWorld inflight entertainment system. · On 15 October 2007, Singapore Airlines took delivery of the world’s first A380 at the Airbus Headquarters in Toulouse. · Singapore Airlines was the first airline to operate out of Changi Airport Terminal 3 in January 2008. The Airline currently operates out of both Terminal 2 and Terminal 3. · In May 2008, Singapore Airlines created history again by being the first carrier to operate an all-Business Class service between Asia and the USA with its launch of all-Business Class non-stop flights from Singapore to New York (Newark). Three months later, in August 2008, the Airline introduced this all-Business Class non-stop service to Los Angeles. · On 21 January 2009, Singapore Airlines received the first of 19 new A330-300 aircraft in Toulouse, France. The aircraft is configured in a two-class layout, with 30 new Business Class seats and 255 Economy Class seats.