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Photograph: Shawn Ang on Unsplash

Singapore Airlines plans to launch flights to nowhere from October

Miss being up in the clouds?

Dewi Nurjuwita

Don't you just miss the feeling of being 10,600 metres off the ground? Leisure travel may still not be allowed at the moment, but you might be able to check in, and get on a flight from Changi Airport pretty soon.

Singapore Airlines announced on Friday that its planning flights to nowhere for domestic passengers, slated to start in October 2020. And if you're wondering what a "flight to nowhere" is, it is basically a trip that starts and ends at the same airport. Each flight is set to last about three hours.

This initiative comes after a survey by Singapore Air Charter, where 75 percent out of 308 people surveyed were willing to pay for flights to nowhere, according to a report by The Straits Times. According to the survey, respondents were willing to pay $288 for an economy class seat and $588 for a business class seat. This will hopefully help to pump some money back into the struggling aviation industry. No details have been revealed yet. However, Singapore Airlines has plans to partner with hotels to offer staycations, Jewel Changi Airport for shopping vouchers, and a limousine service to ferry customers around. 

This follows a string of similar moves launched by airlines over the past few months, including Japan's ANA and two Taiwan carriers – namely Starlux Airlines and EVA Airways. The former introduced a "pretending to go abroad" journey while EVA Airways filled 309 seats on a Father's Day Flight. This isn't the first for Singapore Airlines, either. In a charity initiative in 2015, it ferried more than 300 beneficiaries of the Community Chest, such as children with special needs and the disadvantaged elderly, on a flight to nowhere. 

While social media is buzzing with excitement, many have expressed concern about the environmental impact of the flights. After all, planes are known to be far more carbon-intense than cars, and the aviation industry alone accounts for at least two percent of global carbon emissions (according to this report by the Air Transport Action Group). An Instagram account, @byobottlesg, is calling for alternative ideas on how the public can help save Singapore Airlines instead, including ideas such as educational cockpit tours, ground in-flight dining and staycation experiences in First and Business Class, and sale of flight credits for future use. 

For now, let's see if this takes off. 

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