Singapore Airlines is ranked one of the least fuel-efficient among 20 major airlines around the world


A study of twenty major airlines flying non-stop across the Pacific Ocean has found that Singapore Airline’s planes emit a higher amount of carbon dioxide per passenger-kilometre than average.

On Tuesday, January 16, the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) released the Transpacific Airline Fuel Efficiency Ranking, showing Singapore Airline’s results. Using detailed data from operations along with flight schedules, the ICCT modeled fuel burn for each airline.

The ICCT is the organization responsible for exposing Volkswagen’s emissions scandal in 2014.

Results show that the national carrier’s average fuel efficiency, 30 passenger-kilometres per litre of fuel (pax-km/L), is actually lower than the industry average of 31 pax-km/L.

Out of the twenty airlines in the study, twelve ranked above 31 pax-km/L. Singapore Airlines ranked as the fourth lowest, along with four other carriers.

Along the Los Angeles-Tokyo route, the most competitive of all the routes in the study, Singapore Airlines showed the poorest fuel efficiency rate by a large margin, showing an average fuel efficiency of 26 pax-km/L. For this route, US-based United Airlines is the most fuel-efficient, at 43 pax-km/L.

On its flights to San Francisco and Los Angeles, Singapore Airlines employs Airbus A350-900, A380-800 and Boeing 777-300ER. The A380 performs worst in its fleet in terms of fuel efficiency, at 24 pax-km/L . This model accommodates only 379 or 441 passengers, and should the plane add fifty additional passengers on each flight, fuel efficiency would increase to 27 pax-km/L.

The study also showed that a fuel efficiency metric of 30 pax-km/L would be attained with adding 10 passengers or 1,000 kilograms of freight on all flights.

At 36 pax-km/L, the most fuel efficient airlines in the study are All Nippon Airways (ANA) and Hainan Airlines. This is due to ANA’s heavy cargo load on each flight, equivalent to almost half of the payload per flight. Hainan Airlines, however, can attribute its fuel efficiency to its technologically advanced fleet, using the Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft.

On the other hand, the worst performer on the list is Quantas, Australia’s national carrier. It’s fuel efficiency rating is only at 22 pax-km/L.

Netizens speculate that Singapore Airlines’ poor fuel efficiency is due to the carrier’s inability to fill seats, suggesting that business is not doing well:

Others believe that the reason why Singapore Airlines is not fuel-efficient is because it does not cram passengers in the cabin, unlike other carriers:

Some netizens suggested that the carrier should bring down its prices in order to ensure full flights:


  1. Think there could be many reasons. Not only configuration, but also price and cost and service effectiveness. SIA used to be the number one choice for business class and frequent travellers for the Comfort and service and also for the food. But recent surge in both the upscale travel sector (business travel) and the upgrade of services and all of the above by other airlines has chewed out the lead SIA used to have.

    And the Budget airlines have also chewed out the lower passenger loads so it’s a rather complex situation. They can’t downscale service because they have always been a premium airlines charging premium prices. But now other airlines are charging slightly higher than normal but yet giving same suites for first class and fully reclinable seats and inflight movies and so on

  2. SIA wastes too much money furnishing and showing off their first-class cabins and not enough on the rest of the plane, esp economy.

    These days, I prefer to fly with JAL, ANA, Korean Air, Asiana or Cathay who ply similar routes for me. There’s no real incentive for a Singaporean to fly on the national airline. We don’t get the best treatment anyway.

  3. Most of these GIC linked companies are not managed by professional managers. These CEO are mostly not trained in marketing and finance. They are just planted there by the govt to make sure the organisation is under their own arms.
    If you look at their marketing strategies, it all out of focus and doesn’t really meet the clients need. So they are just doing what they think right but not customers focus. And therefore they fail badly.

  4. So many comments that lack Industry knowledge, fuelled by ignorant Journalists in non mainstream media, who has no real working experience. Go and read up before commenting. Look at cost of leasing aircraft, commonalization of standards by alliance, cannibalization by Budget carriers, cheap government funding in China and ME, industry change from premium to less premium, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Qatar, etc.

  5. How to do well, when even Citizens have to pay a high price to take the National Carier. Even Singaporeans are shoving their National Airlines on social travel. Taking the Airline on business also get scrutinized by HR when the price does not justify.

    Hope an SIA think tank read this.