Norwegian announces new route to Singapore from London Gatwick

Norwegian, a low-cost long-haul airline, has launched its first route from London Gatwick to Singapore on September 28, with fares starting from £149.90 one way.

According to the airline, the new 12-hour 45 minute flight from London Gatwick to Singapore Changi Airport is now the world’s longest route operated by a low-cost airline, covering 6,764 miles (10,885km) using the Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner aircraft. Consumers can fly direct to Singapore from Gatwick four times a week, with tickets available for booking at www.norwegian.com/uk.

Commenting on the launch, Bjorn Kjos, CEO at Norwegian, said: ‘Today we brought a taste of Singapore to Gatwick to mark the expansion of our high quality long-haul flights from the UK to Asia for the first time. I’m delighted to build upon our popular USA flights and give leisure and business customers more affordable access to Singapore and the Asia-Pacific like never before.

‘The 787 Dreamliner has the range to allow us to expand our long-haul services to other parts of the world while keeping fares affordable for all. This is just the start of Norwegian’s UK expansion into new markets as we will continue connecting destinations where fares have been too high for too long.’

Stewart Wingate, CEO at Gatwick Airport said: ‘Norwegian has raised the bar by introducing the world’s longest low-cost long-haul route between Gatwick and Singapore.

‘Singapore is one of the world’s premier destinations and is a significant addition to Gatwick’s 60-strong long-haul route network. Services in both directions are likely to be very popular, both with tourists and business travellers flying between two of the world’s top financial centres.

‘It’s such an exciting time for Gatwick as airlines like Norwegian continue the low-cost long-haul revolution and I’m already looking forward to hearing about the next new destination.’

Norwegian’s Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners provides passengers with personal 11-inch seat back screens. All seats are equipped with USB ports for charging personal electronic devices. Premium passengers also benefit from cradle seating offering more than a metre of legroom and free lounge access at Gatwick Airport from £699.90 one way, the airline said.

Norwegian announces new London-Singapore route from September 2017

Norwegian, a European low-fares airline, is planning to launch a new route from London Gatwick to Singapore this winter as the airline’s long-haul UK network expands into Asia.

Starting September 28, Norwegian will operate four weekly flights, increasing to five in the winter, from London Gatwick to Singapore Changi Airport. Flights are now on sale at www.norwegian.com with fares from £179 one way.

Operated on Norwegian’s new 787 Dreamliner aircraft, the Gatwick-Singapore route will offer up to 344 seats in both economy and premium cabins. Premium cabin fares are available from £699 one way which includes access to No1 Lounges at Gatwick, more than a metre of legroom, complimentary meal service and a reportedly generous baggage allowance.

Norwegian CEO Bjorn Kjos said: ‘Our transatlantic flights have shown the huge demand for affordable long-haul travel, so we are delighted to expand into new markets and offer our first route to Asia from the UK. Travel should be affordable for all so adding Singapore to our growing UK network will give passengers even more choice for affordable, quality travel to a range of global destinations.

‘The UK is at the heart of Norwegian’s ambitious plans for growth so it is a significant moment not only to launch this exciting new route, but also for it to be the first long-haul route to take to the skies with our new ‘Norwegian UK’ subsidiary.’

Stewart Wingate, Chief Executive, Gatwick Airport said: ‘These new direct flights between two of the world’s top three financial centres will be welcome news for business travellers, particularly at a time when global trade is increasingly important for the UK economy. Singapore is also a key tourist destination and gateway hub for long-haul travellers looking to venture further into Southeast Asia and Australia.

‘I’m delighted that Norwegian has responded to this demand and added such a premier destination to its growing long haul network from Gatwick. Crucially, Norwegian continues to make important destinations like Singapore much more affordable and easier to reach for a wider range of passengers. As our 50-strong world route network expands, so too does Gatwick’s reputation on the global stage as a strong, dependable option for international travel.’

Lee Seow Hiang, CEO, Changi Airport Group said: ‘We are delighted to welcome Norwegian to Changi’s portfolio of airlines in September; it will enhance options for Changi Airport’s passengers as well as attract more UK visitors to Singapore. With changing consumer preferences and an improvement in aircraft technology, low-cost carriers have taken the opportunity to expand into the long-haul market. We will continue to work with our airline partners to exploit other such opportunities to grow their operations at Changi.’

Norwegian carries 5.2 million UK passengers each year from four UK airports to more than 50 global destinations. The airline already offers flights from London Gatwick to nine U.S destinations including newly announced routes to Seattle and Denver.

BA agrees codeshare deal with Bangkok Airways

British Airways, a UK-based air carrier, has agreed a codeshare deal with Thailand-based airline, Bangkok Airways.

The agreement will come into play on four routes between the Thai capital city, Bangkok, and Singapore, Koh Samui, Phuket and Chiang Mai. It will enable British Airways customers to book flights to any of these destinations, via Bangkok, in one transaction at ba.com. BA currently provides a daily flight to Bangkok, while flights to Singapore leave twice daily.

From October this year, British Airway’s service to Bangkok from Heathrow will be moving to the airport’s Terminal 5 from its present location, Terminal 3.

British Airways’ head of alliances, Steve Ronald, said, ‘Thailand will be more accessible to European tourists now that we have teamed up with Bangkok Airways. The move of our Bangkok service to Heathrow’s Terminal 5 will also serve to streamline connections between Europe and the Far East.’

Bangkok Airways senior vice president for network management, Peter Wiesner, said in a statement, ‘This new partnership will offer smooth transit for passengers travelling from long-haul routes with British Airways to Bangkok and Singapore for their onward journey to Thailand’s key destinations.’

Established in 1968 as Shakol Air, Bangkok Airways has now grown to a fleet size of 23 aircraft that serve 20 destinations, including those in Thailand, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, Laos, Maldives, Burma, India and Singapore. The airline is also believed to have more aircraft currently on order, including a number of Airbus A320-232’s. Its main base is Suvarnabhumi Airport, in Bangkok.

 

Singapore speeding up tourism with addition to Formula one event

Affected by a slump in the number of tourists to the city state, Singapore is boosting tourism initiatives with new additions to existing attractions such as Formula 1 racing events.

The state is making efforts to encourage tourists to visit Singapore and spend more at new attractions being offered by the state. New marquee events and attractions such as the Formula One night race have been planned to encourage visitor arrivals. S Iswaran, trade minister who oversees the tourism industry, said that tourist arrival to the city state is forecast to increase to 17 million. Further, tourism spending is expected to increase to SGD30bn by 2015.

Recently, the state had opened two casino resorts that include a downtown convention centre. It has also opened a Universal Studios theme park, which is believed to have increased the number of tourists visiting the city. The country expects the number of tourists to rise as much as 9.8 per cent to 14.5 million in 2012.

Iswaran said, ‘Compounding at double-digit rates for your visitor arrivals are OK in short bursts, but on a long-term basis, it will have its limits. The emphasis is on yield where tourism receipts grow at a faster rate.’

Singapore’s Formula One night race, which has been running for five years, attracts about 40,000 visitors to the island annually. The event has prominent companies such as Singapore Telecommunications Ltd (ST) and UBS AG (NYSE: UBS) involved in it, and entertainment is a key component of the race, Iswaran said.

This year, Formula One tickets would also offer access to concerts by performers such as Maroon 5, Katy Perry and Jay Chou. The state is expecting the majority of tourists for this week from Australia, the UK and the US.

The tourism minister also said that negotiations to extend Singapore’s contract for another five years are under way with the Formula One Administration.

 

New partners added to ITB Asia 2012 event

Messe Berlin (Singapore), organiser of the ITB Asia 2012 event, has announced that three new conference partners have been added to the programme’s line up.

This year, the annual event will be attended by travel-industry experts representing MCI, National Association of Travel Agents Singapore (NATAS) and Panacea Publishing Asia. They are meeting to brainstorm innovative solutions and best practices involving the travel industry and related sectors.

ITB Asia, already partnered by TTG Asia Media and Web in Travel, helps to develop and design critical and groundbreaking developments in the travel industry for ITB Asia delegates. The programme, which was launched about five years ago, also tries to attract new programmes.

ITB Asia 2012 will be held from October 17th-19th at The Sands Expo and Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

Nino Gruettke, executive director of ITB Asia, said, ‘We constantly strive to listen to our buyers and exhibitors to help us focus on delivering high impact conferences that not only meet, but exceed their expectations. To our buyers, ITB Asia is not just a leading trade show for them to generate business leads but also a platform to network and learn from the best in the industry. This year, we have upped our game again by adding new conferences to our already powerful line-up of events, delivering quality content that is most relevant to our delegates.’

The event is expected to showcase the first Corporate MICE Buyer Programme, which is a high level educational programme for buyers of Corporate Meetings. The inaugural NATAS Travel Conference is meant for travel industry professionals and service providers and will serve to share knowledge and build networks.

Voices from Titanic arrive at a Singapore Museum

A Century after RMS Titanic sank in the North Atlantic, just two hours and 40 minutes after striking an iceberg, and with a loss of more than two thirds of the passengers and crew. The story has lost none of its power to shock.  The arrival of the long-running artifacts exhibition in Singapore brings the raw emotion of Titanic’s infamous maiden voyage, aided by an audio narrative from imagineear.

The exhibition narrative tells the human stories behind the tragedy of the Titanic – the world’s largest, ‘practically unsinkable’ passenger vessel– illustrated by over 250 artifacts recovered from almost four kilometers beneath the freezing North Atlantic.  With over 25 million tickets sold worldwide to date, fascination with the Titanic shows no sign of waning.  But imagineear’s Chief Executive, Andrew Nugée, felt that a whole new approach to the narrative was necessary:  “This is a story, the cold facts of which are well known, and indeed have passed into legend.  We felt that a new audience in Singapore deserved a fresh approach to the human stories, to provide the small domestic detail of the multiple personal tragedies, as well as the broader importance of the largest such peacetime disaster of the day.”

Nine galleries will lead visitors through the ship’s conception, construction and launch, as well as following her passengers and crew through the sailing, life on board, the iceberg and the sinking a century ago.  The exhibition also tells the fascinating and evolving story of the discovery of the wreck, and the recovery and preservation of its artefacts.

Tom Zaller, Museum Director, ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, said “Titanic is such an iconic ship with such a powerful story to tell that we’re proud to present Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at such an equally iconic venue.  For the first time in Singapore and Southeast Asia, visitors will travel back in time to relive Titanic’s majestic maiden voyage and experience the drama that unfolded as the world’s largest ship sank to the depths of the Atlantic Ocean.”

To understand the impact of Titanic in Singapore, a new gallery named “Singapore 1912” will be dedicated to local connections.  Visitors will learn how the Titanic tragedy strongly resonated in Singapore.  Images of Singapore in the early 1900s will be displayed alongside local newspaper articles that covered the disaster at the time, alongside archaeological finds from the period.

“ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands is committed to bringing blockbuster exhibitions to Singapore that are accessible to people of all ages and interests”, added Mr Zaller.  “With Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition, we’ve taken this one step further and enhanced its relevance to Singaporeans by demonstrating the impact of global developments here, even in the early 20th Century.”


Singapore’s new resorts are the star attraction as the number of visitors to the country soared in 2010

Singapore welcomed record numbers of visitors through its doors in 2010, and it seems that the city state’s flash new resorts are the star attraction.
The Association of Singapore Attractions has just released the results of its first survey into arrivals at its individual members, giving welcome insight for tourism chiefs on exactly who is going to see what when they come to town.
Their results include destinations such as the massive new developments on the city’s Sentosa Island as well as more traditional places such as the Singapore Zoo.
Overall, Singapore attracted a record number of 11.6 million visitors last year.
A total of 31 attractions were polled in February for the survey which showed that overall these places attracted more than 34 million visitors last year, a rise of 56.3 per cent year on year.
Sentosa was the biggest winner which last year saw the official rolling out of attractions at the US$4.4 billion (three billion euro) Resorts World Sentosa, which include a casino-resort and Asia’s first Universal Studios theme park.
Last year visitor numbers to Sentosa soared a massive 185% – from the 2009 mark of 6.2 million to 17.7 million in 2010.
However according to the survey, attractions outside Sentosa suffered an overall drop in numbers of 1.2 per cent but Singapore’s city centre, which features a selection of museums and art galleries, saw a drop of 4.4 per cent.
A spokesman for the Sentosa Leisure Group, which oversees the island, told Asiaone.com that the destination was more than just a collection of fancy hotels and rides.
“Easy connectivity between attractions, reduced queuing times and ample retail and food-and-beverage outlets are other factors which have made Sentosa a hit,” he said.
Billions of dollars have been injected into the development of tourist attractions by the Singapore government over the past five years
The Singapore government has injected billions of dollars into developing its tourism attractions over the past five years as it looks to rival other traditional regional destinations such as Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Singapore’s main source of visitors has long been nearby Indonesia and Malaysia but more and more it is marketing itself as a place for Chinese tourists to visit.
Last year the number of Chinese visiting Singapore was an estimated 1.2 million – a rise of 25% from 2009.

Freya Leng

Eating Cheap in Singapore: The City-State’s Best Budget Restaurants

While Singapore certainly has a reputation for expense, the city’s restaurants offer some of the most varied and affordable food in the world. Mixing the best of Malay, Indian, and Chinese cuisine, the food on offer in Singapore’s street-level dining establishments and outdoor restaurants is varied and exciting – just what any food obsessed tourists lives for.

We took a look at the city’s ubiquitous ‘hawker stands’ – large, table-filled, inexpensive food centres found on just about every major street corner. The ‘stands’ are similar to the food courts found inside most shopping malls, offering a selection of Singaporean treats and delicious meals. What separates them from food courts, however, is the immense quality of the dishes on offer.

Catch the MRT to Singapore’s infamous Bugis district and you’ll run into several such centres, with the largest located in front of the district’s large hotel spread. Dishes are available from four dollars, making the Bugis area eateries one of Singapore’s premiere budget food corners. Venture down the street to Clarke Quay and you’ll be hit with a variety of high-end restaurants and luxurious bars.

Chinatown is another obvious choice, although its selection of Malay foods is rather lacking. The historical district is located to the east of Bugis, and is accessible by MRT from Singapore’s central district. Eateries throughout Chinatown range dramatically in terms of quality and style, with basic dished available from just $2. Higher-end restaurants will typically charge around $30 per person.

Singapore’s population is food obsessed, leading to an impeccable level of quality throughout the city. While our recommendations cover the city’s leading food spots and budget cuisine locations, they’re certainly not all the city has to offer. For true Anthony Bourdain styled cuisine exploration, spend an evening browsing the city’s back-street eateries and taste-testing inexpensive dishes.