31 December 2020
As this year draws to a close, to say it has been unlike any in recent memory would be an understatement. Our family and friends, and of course the SVAG staff has had to rapidly adapt to new challenges and environments. With the situation stabilizing, we have renewed our focus on the airline’s development and growth. It is with pleasure that I present to you, on behalf of the management, some of our plans and what you can expect in the coming year.
Almost a year ago we made the bold leap from third-party platform to in-house development. The tech team behind the scenes have been working on new features, and we are ready to announce them for release shortly. We’ve completed a comprehensive review of our operations and the changes outlined below. There’s quite a bit to go through so make yourself comfortable and let’s get started.
We have a wide range of communication channels created over the years in the interest of allowing you to reach us as easily as possible. While this still holds true today, we’ve decided to reorganize and declutter them to improve engagement and interaction within our community. As such, all our communication channels will operate on the following basis, effective immediately.
- Forums (lounge.singaporevirtualairlines.org)
This part of the site will be the main focus for all administrative activities including LOAs, appeals, route or other requests, major support cases that require follow up and response to reports filed at singaporevirtualairlines.org/v4/report/
- Telegram (t.me/joinchat/VfCUfgfl8GU2b4M4)
After much research and feedback, we’ve concluded that Tele is the most modern, feature-rich and efficient instant messaging service, and will use it as the main community group chat for all casual discussion, media sharing and minor support cases.
- Discord (discord.com/invite/aZ4TaSj)
While also feature-rich, Discord suffers from a bloated design and cluttered UI, making it suitable for heavier usage such as events and groupflights where streaming and group voice features will be utilized.
- WhatsApp, Facebook page, Facebook group, Ops Center new feed, Website press releases
These will be adjusted to push-only content such as announcements and updates. By reducing focus on these channels that have seen sharp activity decline, we are able to better respond and interact with you and the community.
- Email (singaporevirtualairlines.org/v4/about)
You can still reach us anytime on our listed emails for matters where more privacy is desired.
- Forums (lounge.singaporevirtualairlines.org)
The events department has been completely overhauled. You can expect better planning and consistency with upcoming events scheduled at least three months in advance, which will give pilots more room to plan their schedules and greater choice in participation. These will fall into one of four categories, all of which run independently and in addition to each other.
The events team will strive to accommodate timing to best suit the time zones of all pilots, and we encourage you to indicate your interest and available timings during the planning process either on Telegram poll or forum posts to allow us to do so. Pilots who cannot make it for any event due to time zone will be prioritized at the next event they participate in.
- Local events
Monthly affair, optimal duration of 1-3 hours, basic ATC coverage.
- Regional events
Quarterly affair, optimal duration of 3-5 hours, enhanced ATC coverage.
- SINvACC events
We continue to maintain close ties with local area control and are always involved in their major fly-ins with extensive ATC coverage.
- External events
From time to time, we are invited to VATSIM events organized by other area control organizations in the region.
The events director will post these as soon as they are received.
- Local events
Platform and Tracker
The tech team has been hard at work behind the scenes working to improve the platform, the results some of which you can already see or will be rolled out very shortly. Imminent release items include:
- Refreshed Ops Center interface
- Refreshed website and forum design
- Exclusive award badges for all events and other significant milestones backdated to October
- New leaderboard for best landing each month with associated rewards backdated to January
- Comprehensive points system for all flights
- In-house liveries to be consolidated in the Ops Center download section.
We are actively working on the next generation of this platform and are exploring beta options for pilots who are interested in such a program.
If you have PHP coding experience and/or have an idea you’d like to see implemented on the next gen, please get in touch with us.
Network and Reach
With the shutdown or mergers of several divisions in recent years and pandemic-related route closures, we have received feedback over concerns of a shrinking network and destination options. Local ops have listened and we will be introducing Legacy Route Series for popular destinations that have seen cessation of service in the real world. These will reflect the last-flown designators and equipment and can be flown just like any other route. The first batch of these will be available within a week. If you have a request for a legacy route, let us know.
In a similar vein, overseas ops will begin introducing Singapore Virtual Codeshare flights in line with SIA Group partnerships in the real world. This is primarily to replace the loss of routes that used to be available on the VAFS codeshare ecosystem. These will reflect the operator designators and equipment and can also be flown like any regular route (no more messing about with aircraft configs!).
The ops team will continue to uphold our tradition of highly realistic and updated SIA Group schedules, and we hope the addition of Legacy Route Series and Singapore Virtual Codeshare will bring you more flying pleasure in your journey with us.
- Earlier this year, HR set a new target of 48 hours for processing of new pilots and pilot requests. We’ve been able to consistently come under this, often under 24 hours and will continue to do so.
- SVAG has secured multiple sponsors for payware products in 2021. How we will utilize these partnerships is still being planned, but we expect to be able to provide you with a more rewarding experience flying for us with unique opportunities and events involving prizes and giveaways.
Thank you for being with us thus far. There is a lot to look forward to and it is a great honor to have you along for the ride.
We wish you strong tailwinds and happy landings into the new year.
Vice President (Admin),
Singapore Virtual Airlines Group