With the return of this year’s Singapore Grand Prix until 2028, Singapore Airlines has decided to continue as the Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix title sponsor for three more years. The deal extension will start with this year’s race held from September 30th to October 2nd.
Back on the race calendar
Inaugurated in September 2008, the Singapore Grand Prix is one of Formula 1’s premier and most highlighted events as drivers race through the tight Marina Bay Street Circuit against the fantastic backdrop of the city’s night-time skyline.
Unfortunately, Singapore last hosted an F1 race in 2019 due to the pandemic. Its contract had also elapsed towards the end of last year, though F1 did make it clear that renewing it was a top priority and named Singapore on its then-provisional 2022 calendar. In January, F1 agreed to a new long-term deal with Singapore to cement the original night race’s return for the next six years, making it the longest ever contract extension from F1.
As for Singapore Airlines, the national carrier first signed as the title sponsor back in 2014 for four years. subsequently, the deal was extended in 2018 and 2020 for two years each. This latest three-year extension would see the airline’s continued support for the Singapore Grand Prix not just in terms of tourism and sport but for the environment too, as highlighted by Mr Brandon Snow, Managing Director of Commercial, Formula 1:
“We are pleased that Singapore Airlines will continue to be the title sponsor of the Singapore Grand Prix for another three years. The Singapore Grand Prix is the original F1 night race, an iconic Formula 1 event loved by fans and drivers, and it returns to the calendar after two years away. This year’s race will see further use of renewable energy and sustainable materials. The commitments from Singapore Airlines towards sustainable aviation fuels reflect the continued alignment between all partners and Formula 1 in reducing environmental impact.”
Singapore Airlines did not disclose the sponsorship cost. Still, the value for the first two years in 2014 and 2015 is estimated to be worth between S$10 million and S$15 million annually ($7.2 million to $10.8 million). Photo: Getty Images
Speeding up recovery
Although Singapore Airlines saw its first quarterly profit in the third quarter of last year and has forecasted more quarterly profits this year onwards, the Star Alliance member still has a relatively long way to recover fully. Unfortunately, the recovery of air travel in Singapore has been slightly slower than the rest of the world, especially since it lacks a domestic sector.
In the week ending April 17th, passenger traffic inbound to Singapore only reached an estimated 400,000, or 31% of pre-pandemic levels. And in terms of passenger flights, they also increased to 38% of pre-pandemic levels in the same week.
Additionally, Singapore Airlines has seen a significant increase in passenger demand, but capacity had only got just over 50% of pre-pandemic levels last month. This month, the national carrier expects passenger capacity to increase further due to the summer travel season but only forecasted capacity to reach around 61% of pre-pandemic levels.
The renewal of the F1 contract emphasizes Singapore’s determination to woo back tourism. Fortunately, the popularity of F1 continues to grow, giving the high possibility that Singapore hosting the Grand Prix will help boost the recovery of its national carrier, as celebrated by Mr Lee Lik Hsin, Executive Vice President, Commercial, Singapore Airlines:
“This year’s highly anticipated Formula 1 Singapore Grand Prix will be an important milestone for Singapore, marking the return of a major international sporting event to the city after a two-year disruption due to the pandemic. The race will be warmly welcomed by Singapore residents and visitors alike and enhance our reputation as a global city. SIA’s extension of its title sponsorship signals our continued support for both tourism and sports, complements the expansion of our global network, and will bolster Singapore’s recovery as a key international air hub.”
Singapore Airlines has seen high passenger traffic to and from Australia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Photo: Getty Images
The finish line
Considering Singapore only fully reopened its borders last month, the slow but gradual rise in capacity for Singapore Airlines is relatively expected. As the national carrier resumes more routes, the continued sponsorship of the Grand Prix will undoubtedly bring in a needed more enormous wave of passengers. Hopefully, it will be enough to bring capacity levels even closer to pre-pandemic levels.
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