Singapore Airlines (SIA) is significantly improving its position in the Brisbane corporate travel market as it increases business class capacity by over 40% and starts to offer a premium economy option.
SIA currently operates four daily flights to Brisbane using 777-200ER and A330-300 aircraft. SIA served Brisbane with three daily flights until May-2016, when it added three weekly frequencies for a total of 24. In late Aug-2017 it added another four weekly frequencies for a total of 28.
SIA recently unveiled plans to introduce A350-900s, the newest airplane in its fleet, on three of the four daily Brisbane-Singapore flights. The first A350 flight will be operated daily from 16-Oct-2017, taking over from an A330-300. Two existing 777-200ER flights will transition to the A350 on 16-Dec-2017 and 16-Jan-2018, resulting in a Brisbane-Singapore schedule featuring three A350 fights and one 777-200ER flight.
Total capacity will be reduced as SIA’s A350-900s have 18 fewer seats than its 777-200ERs and 32 fewer seats than its A330-300s. However, premium capacity is increasing significantly. When factoring in the upgrade from three to four daily flights, regular economy capacity will also still be this summer compared to two years ago.
Once the new schedule is fully introduced in mid-Jan-2018, SIA will have 7,210 one-way seats from Brisbane, including 5,642 economy seats, 1,064 business class seats and 504 premium economy seats. It currently has 7,686 one-way seats in the Brisbane market, including 6,930 economy seats and 756 business class seats. SIA is the second largest foreign airline in Brisbane after Emirates and carried nearly 700,000 passengers to and from Brisbane in the financial year ending Jun-2017.
SIA’s business class capacity in the Brisbane market will increase by a staggering 41% as it introduces A350s on three of the four flights.
SIA has 42 lie flat business class seats on the A350-900 compared to 26 lie flat business class seats on the 777-200ER and 30 angled flat business class seats on the A330-300. As a result, SIA’s business class capacity in the Brisbane market will increase by a staggering 41% as it introduces A350s on three of the four flights.
The decision to significantly increase business class capacity indicates that SIA is experiencing strong and growing demand from Brisbane’s corporate and business sector. SIA already increased business class capacity in the Brisbane market by nearly 20% in Aug-2017 as it added four weekly frequencies.
The new Brisbane schedule also ensures a lie flat all aisle access business class product for all flights. SIA now operates the A330-300, which has a 2x2x2 configuration in business, on the 930pm departure from Singapore and 910am departure from Brisbane. This will be the first flight to be upgraded to the A350 – a sensible move as business class passengers will no longer have to put up with an inferior product on an overnight flight. The business class cabins in SIA’s 777-200ERs and A350-900s both have preferred 1x2x1 configurations.
SIA’s A350s also have 24 premium economy seats in 2x4x2 configuration as well as 187 regular economy seats in standard 3x3x3 configuration. All overnight flights from Brisbane and from Singapore will have the premium economy option. Only the 655am departure from Singapore and 610pm departure from Brisbane (which lands back in Singapore just after midnight) will continue to be operated with the 777-200ER. SIA has two overnight and two morning departures from Singapore to Brisbane while from Brisbane to Singapore there is one overnight flight as well as departures in the morning, mid-afternoon and early evening.
SIA already offers premium economy in the Melbourne and Sydney market – although this winter only three of SIA’s five daily flights in each of these markets are being operated with premium economy aircraft. SIA does not yet have a premium economy option on any flight in its other three Australia markets – Adelaide, Canberra and Perth.
SIA will become the only airline offering premium economy in the Brisbane-Singapore market. Qantas uses A330s, which do not have a premium economy cabin but offer lie flat business class seats, on its daily Brisbane-Singapore flight. Emirates also operates one daily flight from Brisbane to Singapore but Emirates does not have a premium economy product on any of its aircraft.
SIA will become the only airline offering premium economy in the Brisbane-Singapore market…SIA will join Cathay Pacific as the only Asian airlines offering a premium economy product in the Brisbane-Asia market.
SIA will join Cathay Pacific as the only Asian airlines offering a premium economy product in the Brisbane-Asia market. The only Qantas flight with premium economy from Brisbane is Los Angeles. Virgin Australia also offers a premium economy product from Brisbane to Los Angeles. Air New Zealand has premium economy on some of its Auckland-Brisbane flights and offers a one-stop premium economy option from Brisbane to four destinations in North America and Buenos Aires.
SIA has benefitted in the Brisbane market from the 2015 suspension of services by Malaysia Airlines, which competed on several city pairs from Brisbane to Southeast Asia, South Asia and Europe. Etihad also stopped competing in the local Brisbane-Singapore market in 2015, when it dropped the Singapore stop on its Brisbane-Abu Dhabi service.
Etihad along with Emirates compete against SIA in the Brisbane-Europe market. Cathay Pacific and Thai Airways also compete for Brisbane-Europe traffic along with (to a lesser extent) China Airlines, China Eastern, China Southern, EVA Air and Korean Air.
Cathay at the moment provides the only Brisbane-Europe premium economy one-stop option (excludes airlines offering extra legroom economy seats). SIA should quickly overtake Cathay in premium economy Brisbane-Europe market share as Cathay has only one daily nonstop flight on the Brisbane-Hong Kong route (it has a second frequency which stops in Cairns).
Cathay Pacific in March-2017 became the first airline in Brisbane to operate the A350. It previously used an A330 on the nonstop Brisbane-Hong Kong flight and still uses the A330 on the one-stop flight via Cairns. Unlike SIA, Cathay has a premium economy cabin on the A330s it uses in the Australia market.