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Singapore Airlines scraps 'flights to nowhere' over carbon footprint

Carrier offers grounded fine dining and virtual flight training instead

Singapore Airlines has offered on-the-ground meals on its Airbus 380 jumbo jet. (Photo courtesy of Singapore Airlines)

SINGAPORE -- Singapore Airlines has withdrawn plans for three-hour scenic flights after receiving criticism from environmental groups.

The flag carrier had sought to use grounded passenger planes for the so-called flights to nowhere back to the airport from which they departed. This would have offset the revenue lost while Singapore's government restricts entry to foreigners during the coronavirus pandemic.

The move garnered interest when it was first reported, but environmental activists claim it would lead to unnecessary emission of greenhouse gases.

"They decided the negatives outweighed the positives," a person familiar with the company's plans said.

Airlines around the world have introduced similar pleasure flights to stem the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, including Japan's All Nippon Airways, Qantas of Australia, and Taiwan's China Airlines.

Meanwhile, Singapore Airlines has turned to other ideas to generate extra revenue. The company converted a double-decker Airbus A380 jet into a temporary restaurant, with meals in first-class seating costing 642 Singapore dollars ($472) and those in economy going for SG$53.50.

Tickets for the limited-time feature sold out almost immediately, and Singapore Airlines extended the offer to four days from two.

Next month, the carrier will welcome customers to its training center where they can operate flight simulators or experience training on how to be flight attendants.

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