Singapore Airlines Ltd. Chief Executive officer Goh Choon Phong watched budget airlines in neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia order some 800 aircraft in the 2 1/2 years he has been at the helm.
With the third-highest cash reserves among airlines globally, Goh responded last week with a record $17 billion purchase. Singapore Air, including its affiliates, now has $46 billion of aircraft orders with Airbus SAS and Boeing Co.
The airline needs more planes as Malaysia-based AirAsia Bhd. and Indonesia’s PT Lion Mentari Airlines wean away budget travelers as Asia’s economic growth spurs travel. With competition to lure bankers in the city-state increasing from Middle East carriers, Goh has revamped his first-and business- class offerings, undeterred by a 31 percent drop in stock price during his tenure and Wall Street’s downsizing.