March 28 2019  |  Airline & Terminal News

Singapore sets sights on sustainability

By Rachel Debling

Singapore Airlines (SIA) has increased its efforts to make its inflight experience more eco-friendly.

The airline recently announced its partnership with AeroFarms on a "Farm-To-Plane" initiative through which flights from Newark to Singapore will serve fresh, sustainable greens grown in an indoor vertical farm, beginning this September. Last week, the carrier also revealed information about upcoming projects that tackle food waste and reduce single-use plastics.

Yeoh Phee Teik, SIA’s Senior Vice President Customer Experience, spoke on March 21 at SIA’s World Gourmet Forum regarding these updates. “We are proud to have embarked on a new era of greater sustainability, with an enhanced focus on environmentally responsible practices on board that will significantly reduce our carbon footprint and improve the sustainable travel experience of our customers,” he said.

On the food waste front, the airline reports that it currently utilizes customer surveys, data analytics and staff feedback to help in the fight against onboard wastage.

In the future, SIA will automate data collection and lean on artificial intelligence and machine learning to "better predict customers’ consumption patterns and further reduce cabin food waste," according to a statement. This will enable the carrier to more accurately adjust onboard food quantities to minimize waste while still delivering the expected passenger experience.

The airline has also committed to providing more sustainable alternatives to single-use plastics. One goal of the airline is to replace all plastic straws on board with paper straws by September 2019, in addition to supplying passengers with wooden swizzle sticks instead of their plastic counterparts. (In September of last year, SIA removed all plastic straws on board its aircraft, with the exception of children's straws.) These changes will remove about 820,000 plastic straws from its flights each year, says the airline.

This May, SIA will also be replacing the polybags from its children’s toys with recyclable paper packaging.

These new initiatives build on SIA's current environmental programs. Its menu cards, tissue paper and toilet rolls, among other inflight products, are made with FSC-certified paper. Looking ahead, the airline also plans on printing its children’s coloring books and activity kits using eco-friendly soy-based ink.

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