Business class to Asia: Singapore


By Heathrow

Published 31st March 2014

Home > Must See > Business class to Asia: Singapore

Home > Must See > Business class to Asia: Singapore

Asia is today’s economic growth powerhouse and is fast becoming one of the most important areas for the UK’s future. However, as Sir John Boyd, Asia House Chairman, says the cultural differences in Asia “can strike the visitor and aspiring trader as exotic, even incomprehensible”. Here at yourHeathrow, and thanks to Asia House, we’ve decided to give you a snap shot guide to doing business in eight different Asian nations including what cultural customs you should know. Today we take a look at Singapore.

Singapore at a glance…

The Republic of Singapore is an island city state home to over 5 million people and at the heart of global trading routes. Singapore became an important colonial trade port after it was obtained by the British in 1824. In 1965, Singapore separated from Malaysia to form a sovereign nation.

Mandarin Chinese, Malay, Tamil and English are the four official languages of this Commonwealth of Nations member. Significantly, Singapore is the home of the APEC Secretariat, which has helped to cement it as a regional leader in politics and economics.

Why do business in Singapore?

Advanced infrastructure, a skilled workforce and a low tax rate all make Singapore an appealing option for foreign businesses. Over 7,000 multinational corporations from across Japan, the United States and Europe call Singapore home while 3,000 companies from China and India also feature. Singapore is the UK’s sixth largest services export market and 12th largest for goods outside the European Union. Combine all this with a triple A credit rating, plus high rankings in economic freedom and ease of business comparisons, and you can’t help but consider doing business there. Did we mention the food is good too?

Getting there from Heathrow…

A number of carriers, including Singapore Air and British Airways, fly from Heathrow Airport to Singapore’s booming Changi Airport (SIN), which is fast becoming Asia’s central aviation hub. A 2007 agreement between the UK and Singapore has made it cheaper and easier to fly between the two countries. The almost 3000 flights between the UK and Singapore in 2011 led to over US$10 trillion worth of trade.

Top tips for doing business in Singapore:

  • Start meetings with a handshake;
  • Always bring name cards, and present them with the name facing the recipient;
  • Ask how people want to be addressed as naming conventions vary between Ethnicity groups;
  • Small talk is important;
  • Decisions are normally taken by senior management as hierarchy is highly valued.

Tomorrow we’ll take a look at Indonesia and how business is about to boom across its 17,000 islands.

Information and graphics for this article were sourced from a document published by Asia House, “Navigating Asian Markets: A quick guide to 8 Exciting Economies”. For the Singapore guide, including a case study, please click here.

Was this guide helpful? Have you done business in Singapore and have another tip? Leave a comment or tweet us @yourHeathrow, and Asia House @asiahouseuk, using the hashtag #Navig8Asia.

What has 270 degree views, a view of the Concorde, is right next to the Southern Runway at Heathrow and has just opened? The Answer: The View Heathrow Observation Deck.

The View Heathrow Observation Deck in T4 was officially opened this afternoon by Heathrow’s Normand Boivin and Tom Willis with a host of our airline partners from the terminal.

View Heathrow, located between gates 15 and 16, features 270 degree views and is located less than 250 metres from the centre of the Southern Runway.

The retired British Airways’ Concorde can even be seen from the area which has been converted from an unused former airline lounge.

Led by Paul Springthorpe from the Property team, the project has created a flight deck theme for passengers to interact with including a unique Turbine egg ball chair.

Visitors to View Heathrow can get involved with our social media team by hashtagging their spectacular Instagram pics and Twitter comments with #ViewHeathrow.

A live feed of these Instagram images and Tweets is on display in the viewing area, while visitors can also check out live flight radars on fixed iPads in the area.

The area is free to enter and open in line with Terminal 4’s operating hours.

What’s next for #ViewHeathrow?

This isn’t the only initiative we’ve been working on for all our aviation enthusiasts. We are working on some exciting new things for 2014 including multiple photo competitions, better non-airside venue access and more.

We’re also looking to select a group of aviation photographers to join us for a #ViewHeathrow visit in January. Tweet @yourHeathrow if you’re interested.

Every now and then, an aircraft will land at or take off from Heathrow that is wearing a slightly different paint job to all of the others. Aviation photographer, James Mellon, has picked ten of these aircraft that regularly visit the airport, and explains why they are so appealing.


All photos are courtesy of James Mellon.

I have been a big fan of aircraft that wear one-off, special colour schemes for a long time. In my early teens I bought two books, one called ‘ColorBirds’, and the other called ‘Dream Schemes’. Both included photos of aircraft that were not wearing the standard corporate identity used by each airline. Instead they wore unique, one off designs that were used to promote an occasion, an event, a product, a sports team, a TV show, the list goes on. I grew to like them so much because they are often very colourful, making them stand out amongst other commercial aircraft.

Special schemes add some vibrancy and variety to the skies, particularly compared to many aircraft that some airlines fly around the world that wear little or no colourful paint on them at all. The travelling public appreciate certain special colour schemes as much as aviation enthusiasts.

However, special colour schemes do not tend to be flown around for a very long period of time, depending on the nature of the colours. An aircraft may only fly around wearing a special scheme for a matter of months, or weeks, or even days, so sometimes you have to be quick to catch a photo of one before it is gone forever! By the time I got these books many of the flying works of art inside were history. The aircraft in question had either been repainted back into their standard airline colours, had left the fleet, or the airline themselves had gone out of business. It was too late to capture my own photos of these aircraft, with my own camera. From then on I endeavoured to see as many aircraft wearing special colours as possible, and in doing so catching nice photos of them to add to my collection.

Below we explore some of the varied reasons why they are applied to aircraft, through 10 examples that (at the time of writing in March 2014) are regular visitors to Heathrow. I am including the registration number of each aircraft listed here, just in case you wish to view more photos of them online, or want to find out where they are flying in the world right now!

Aer Lingus ‘Retro’ Airbus A320 (EI-DVM)

Airlines like to celebrate their own heritage from time to time. When significant anniversaries come around, some mark this special occasion by painting an aircraft with a colour scheme that was used by the airline in the past. In 2011 Irish flag carrier Aer Lingus reached their 75th anniversary. A brand new, factory fresh Airbus A320 joined the fleet during that year, painted in the colours used on the airlines aircraft during the 1960’s. Named ‘St Coleman’ it is often operated into Heathrow on their services from the Emerald Isle.

KLM ‘Retro’ Boeing 737-800 (PH-BXA)

The retro theme has been adopted by many airlines over time, including the oldest airline in the world. The Dutch national carrier KLM (or Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij, if you prefer) reached it’s 90th birthday in 2009. Drawing upon all those years of history they also chose their colours from the 1960’s as the basis for a retro jet. The standard KLM colours used now are very nice, but the white, silver and blue design on their Boeing 737-800 looks absolutely beautiful!

Air New Zealand ‘All Blacks’ Boeing 777-300ER (ZK-OKQ)

Sports teams are often a feature of some special coloured aircraft. New Zealand’s ‘All Blacks’ rugby team were previously advertised in the late 1990’s, with large decals of the players on the side of some Air New Zealand aircraft. Fast forward to the present day and the team are represented by the airline once again, but this time the All Blacks theme has been taken literally. Apart from the two Silver Fern logos stretching across the rear of the fuselage (and some other areas of grey and white paint), the aircraft are…all black. The largest aircraft to wear these colours is a Boeing 777-300ER.

Gulf Air ‘Formula 1: Bahrain Grand Prix’ Airbus A330-200 (A9C-KB)

Airlines that sponsor motor racing events are prime candidates for advertising this on the side of their aircraft. Since 2008 Gulf Air have been doing this with an Airbus A330-200. Covered from nose to tail in gold paint, a large black and white chequered flag is draped across the middle of the fuselage, in addition to a red and white stylised Bahraini national flag, and bright red engines. Gulf Air fly to Heathrow twice a day, and this aircraft is a frequent visitor on their services.

South African Airways ‘Olympic Games’ Airbus A340-300 (ZS-SXD)

Sometimes the sporting event in question is so big it brings together athletes from all over the world. When the summer and winter Olympics take place an airline from the host nation will usually oblige by decorating an aircraft in a one-off design to mark the event. However it is not just the host nation who are limited to celebrating this. For the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games South African Airways really went to town with the tins of paint, and applied a brilliant multi-coloured finish to an Airbus A340-300. It is these aircraft that are then tasked with flying the competing teams to and from the host city before and after the games, carrying a great amount of national pride…along with all of the kit bags and sporting equipment!

Air New Zealand ‘The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey’ Boeing 777-300ER (ZK-OKP)

Movies and TV shows being advertised on aircraft are less common, but it varies in different regions of the world. Coinciding with the release of the first Hobbit movie in late 2012, Air New Zealand rolled out a Boeing 777-300ER wearing an absolutely staggering design. Many of the characters appear on the fuselage, in addition to the titles proclaiming Air New Zealand as ‘The Airline of Middle-earth’. The Kiwis have good form when it comes to this type of special scheme, as some aircraft in the past have worn equally elaborate designs advertising ‘The Lord of the Rings’ movies.

Delta Air Lines ‘Breast Cancer Research Foundation’ Boeing 767-400ER (N845MH)

Airlines often partner with different kinds of charities, but it is rare to find an airline that have dedicated the outside of an entire aircraft to promoting that charitable cause. Since 2005 Delta Air Lines have supported the ‘Breast Cancer Research Foundation’ with over $6.7 million raised in that time. Following a Boeing 757-200 that originally wore a one-off pink and white scheme, Delta now operate a Boeing 767-400ER painted in a new design that still utilises the same two colours. With the underside, engines and tail all painted pink, it certainly stands out amongst the other aircraft parked at the terminal.

Vueling ‘Linking Europe’ Airbus A320 (EC-LVP)

Having only been founded in 2004, the Spanish low cost carrier has not only grown at a remarkable rate, they have also notched up an impressive number of special schemes on their aircraft during that time. Tying these two points together brings us to their latest one-off design. Called ‘Linking Europe’ it highlights the extensive route network they have built up between various cities. Photographers should be aware though, the design is different on either side of the aircraft, each featuring a different selection of European landmarks.

Etihad ‘Visit Abu Dhabi’ Airbus A330-300 (A6-AFA)

A special colour scheme that advertises a destination or resort can also lead to different and interesting looking designs. When Etihad unveiled an Airbus A330-300 that promotes their home city of Abu Dhabi, it came as a big surprise that it was painted completely purple! It is in stark contrast to the rest of the fleet, that wears an all over metallic gold finish. Many might consider it to be garish, but it stands out and grabs your attention. The airline operate this jet all over the place, to destinations in Africa, Asia, Europe and within the Middle East.

Air New Zealand ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ Boeing 777-300ER (ZK-OKO)

I’m sure that some of you are beginning to see a trend developing here! Air New Zealand occupying a third position on this list with their latest stunning special scheme. As the second film in The Hobbit trilogy hit cinema screens recently, the character on which the film is named was being prepared for flight. The huge 54 foot long dragon has been painstakingly applied to both sides of the fuselage, and there are a lot of intricate details on the decals used. All three of the Boeing ‘Triple Seven’s’ mentioned are regular visitors to Heathrow, so you stand a good chance of seeing one of them whilst on a visit to the airport.

There are more aircraft wearing special colours to visit Heathrow than just the 10 aircraft listed here! Have I missed out your favourite? Which aircraft in special colours have you see recently? Which ones are you still waiting to see?

– James Mellon

In part seven of our second Business Class to Asia series, we take a look at the 9th largest nation in the world by landmass, Kazakhstan.

Kazakhstan at a glance…

Home to 16 million people and located in Central Asia, Kazakhstan is best known for its spectacular natural landscapes and wildlife, including the snow leopard.

Kazakhstan is a very diverse country with many different ethnic groups, including the ethnic Kazakh, and a large minority of Russians; the people of Kazakhstan are often called ‘Kazakhstani’ as a more inclusive term. Kazakh is the office state language but Russian is also considered an official language and is the primary language of business in the country.

Since breaking away from the Soviet Union in 1991, the country has been ruled by Nursultan Nazarbayev, the former leader of the Communist Party in the country. Serik Akhmetov has served as Prime Minister since 2012.

Why do business in Kazakhstan?

In 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron led an official delegation to Kazakhstan resulting in over £700 million worth of agreements signed between British companies and the nation. These agreements highlight the massive potential for trade with this nation which has large reserves of resources including natural gas and petroleum, uranium, chromium, lead, copper, coal, iron, gold and diamonds.

Telecommunications, education and finance are three of the sectors attracting the most international interest as well as growing rapidly. The combination of readily available resources, large infrastructure developing projects, and the country’s location as a bridge between Asia and Europe, make Kazakhstan an exciting prospect for international businesses.

Getting there from Heathrow…

British Airways and Air Astana fly to Kazakhstan Almaty Airport from Heathrow regularly, while the latter also flies to the Astana International Airport.

Kazakhstan’s flagship air carrier, Air Astana, was named the Best Airline in Central Asia & India at the 2012 World Airline Awards head at Farnborough Airshow in the UK.

The main international airport for the country is located at the former capital of Almaty, although Astana International Airport is a growing hub.

Top tips for doing business in Kazakhstan:

  • Do not assume ethnic and religious traditions as Kazakhstan is culturally diverse nation;

  • Most business is done in Russian, with English only recently becoming more common;

  • Have business cards that are translated into both English and Russian, that display all academic, honorary, and job titles;

  • Formality is an important means of showing respect, so dress appropriately and use titles such as ‘Mr/Mrs’ along with surnames until invited otherwise;

  • Greetings generally consists of handshakes using both hands;

  • Meetings can be long as many Kazakhstanis tend to circle around subjects.

Join us later this week as we finish our second series in style with a visit to Malaysia!Information and graphics for this article were sourced from a document published by Asia House, “Navigating Asian Markets: A quick guide to 8 Exciting Economies, Volume 2”. 

Was this guide helpful? Have you done business in Kazakhstan and have another tip? Leave a comment or tweet us @yourHeathrow, and Asia House @asiahouseuk, using the hashtag #Navig8Asia.

Heathrow today (March 20, 2014) welcomed a report released by the Freight Transport Association which shows the value of hub airports to freight and the UK economy. ‘Sky-high value’ argues that freight is a vital component of the economy and highlights the essential role played by Heathrow, the UK’s only hub airport.

Air freight accounts for around 40% of UK imports and exports by value, and is essential to industries ranging from retailing to manufacturing. Here at yourHeathrow we take a look at some of the leading importers and exporters heavily dependent upon Heathrow as the UK’s gateway to international business.

Entertainment – Sound Moves

Beyonce, U2, the Rolling Stones and Katy Perry are just some of the brands that international logistics operation Sounds Moves support on global tours. With 70 movements through Heathrow each week, Sound Moves ensure all the essential tour kit is flown from venue to venue so fans don’t miss a beat.

Retail – ASDA

Importing a range of retail goods including food, clothing and general merchandise, British supermarket chain ASDA needs inbound capacity and service levels from key global destinations such as Africa, China and India to be maintained at Heathrow.

Pharmaceutical – Manufacturer of medical products

Shipping products for the treatment of serious health conditions to hospitals all over the world, a manufacturer of medical products significantly relies upon Heathrow’s range of worldwide direct flights. The company sends out up to 20 shipments a day through Heathrow, or 3600 shipments and 16,000 packages a year to 64 destinations across 54 countries.

Other air-freight facts:

  • Air freight accounts for around 40% of UK imports and exports by value;

  • Around 95% of air-freight carried through Heathrow travels in the belly-hold of passenger aircraft;

  • 86% of UK belly-hold air freight passes through Heathrow;

  • 39,000 jobs in the UK are supported by air freight;

  • 91% of all jewellery shipments by value use air freight;

  • 76% of medical instruments and 62% of pharmaceuticals by value use air freight;

  • 30% of UK trade with non-EU countries is heavily dependent upon air freight.

To view the full report, click here.

A group of local aviation enthusiasts visited T4’s View Heathrow Observation Deck earlier this week to check out the amazing 270 degree views over the Southern Runway and snap up some of the sights!

Our guests were treated to many highlights, which they captured beautifully on camera. We loved the photos so much that we wanted to share them with you and get your opinion on which should be the overall winner!

  • Voting is taking place on Heathrow Airport’s Facebook page
  • Each entrant has selected their two best photos from the day (the entrant’s name will appear when you hover over the image).
  • The general public can vote for one photo, once per day from 1630, Friday 7 March, until 0900 Friday 14 March.
  • The photo with the highest number of votes will be announced once the voting has closed on Friday 14 March, and will win an Apple iPad Mini.

Here’s a sneak peak of some of the snaps from the day:

Like this article? Tell us what you thought here,  via Twitter (@yourHeathrow), or on our Facebook page. We’d also love to see your pics on Instagram so tag us (@Heathrow_Airport) using #heathrowairport.

FlightRadar24 and a group of aviation enthusiasts visited the View Heathrow Observation Deck yesterday to test out the new facility in T4 and its spectacular views.

A whir of camera shutters filled the air as the yourHeathrow hosted group was treated to a wide-array of aircraft touching down on the Southern Runway in front of them.

Aircraft such as the China Southern Boeing Dreamliner 787, a KLM Fokker 70 and the British Airways A380 (One World) were favourites of the group as they took advantage of the deck’s location only 250 metres away from the centre of the runway.

FlightRadar24 founder Mikael Robertsson was on hand to answer questions about the popular smartphone and tablet app (which is displayed on three Dixons iPads in the viewing area), and how it began as a hobby.

Robertsson also showed despite all his success, his simple passion for aviation remains as strong as ever with the founder taking just as many photos as the other guests. senior moderator Gary Claridge-King and Airliner World Magazine Editor Tony Dixon were among the other enthusiastic guests.

One lucky enthusiast, Henry Heming, even managed to add photos of the Qatar Emiri Flight Aircraft (an A320 CJ) – used to transport the Qatari Royal Family and Government- to his collection after six-months of trying, prompting an emphatic celebration.

The lead on the Observation Deck project and brains behind it, Heathrow’s Paul Springthorpe, was also on hand to answer questions about the concept design and fit-out.

#avgeeks to go head to head in View Heathrow social media photo comp

All the guests at the photo opportunity have been asked to submit their two best photos for the day to go head-to-head online for bragging rights and to win an iPad mini. The competition will launch on Friday afternoon and run for a week.

Keep an eye on the Heathrow Airport Facebook page and the @yourHeathrow Twitter feed for more information!

Nobody enjoys sitting in an airport or on an aircraft waiting for a weather delay to pass, but the question is what causes these delays? Weather is the one thing airports can’t control. Whether it’s snow, fog, rain, lightning or ash – the effects on air travel can range from long delays to deadly accidents.

How does airport capacity play a part in weather delays?

As an example, Heathrow Airport operates at between 98 and 99 per cent capacity across its two runways. In perspective, that’s a flight taking off or landing approximately every 45 seconds across the airport, meaning a weather caused delay of only two minutes can affect or cancel up to three flights.

It should be noted, Heathrow Airport is an extreme example as most other major airports operate at a much lower level of their capacity due to a greater number of runways or less international traffic.

Why does snow cause delays?

Snowmen, snowball fights and snow angels are the fun side of frosty weather, while the flight delays caused are the opposite. A mere 10cm of snow is enough to dump 60,000 tonnes across Heathrow Airport and cause widespread delays as runways are cleared.

While £36 million has been spent by Heathrow Airport since 2010 on ways to reduce delays in such weather, that amount of snow would fill over 4,000 lorry trucks.

Over 90 snow clearing vehicles, millions of litres of de-icer liquid and in excess of 500 extra staff are used during such events to reduce the impact on flights. Clearing the runway itself takes up to 30 minutes during which time there is a need to keep it clear of aircraft taking off or landing.

While Heathrow is responsible for ensuring the runways and taxiways are open and operational, it is the airlines themselves who are responsible for de-icing their aircraft.

How does fog affect flights?

Whether you’re driving a car or piloting an aircraft you need to be able to see where you’re going. As fog increases, pilots need to increase the distance between each aircraft landing and taking-off due to the reduced visibility, which can mean delays and cancellations. Spacing between aircraft in the air approaching the runway depends on the size of the plane (due to the vortex left in the air), however, during fog conditions the average distance of three miles apart is extended to six miles.

Modern navigation technology means there are few issues for aircraft in the air during foggy conditions, with the majority of delays caused by landing and take-off processes at each airport.

Who decides which flights to cancel and why?

Each airport and airline has different procedures meaning that decisions on weather related flight cancellations can be extremely difficult to enact.

At Heathrow, when severe disruptions are expected a decision is made by a group of representatives from the airport (known as HADACAB), the National Air Traffic Control Service (NATS) and the airlines themselves to reduce the flight schedule in order to introduce slack into the system. The airlines themselves will then decide which of their flights to cancel. This process involves reallocating passengers onto flights with spare seats so as to minimise the number of people affected. 

For more information please see the linked factsheets on HADACAB, the effects of snow on Heathrow, and the processes for dealing with fog conditions.

Our advice to passengers

Before travelling to the airport during adverse weather conditions you should always check the status of your flight with your airline. Please also take care when travelling to the airport during such conditions.

Weather – Snow (PDF – 2MB)Why cancel flights in advance (PDF – 162KB)Fog (PDF – 189KB)

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By Heathrow

Published 3rd March 2014