Singapore Airlines to improve premium product consistency in Australia market

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will improve the consistency of its premium product in the Australia market as it reduces the number of configurations in its fleet.


Summary

  • Singapore Airlines will have four different business class products in the Australia market after SIA begins operating its new A380 on one of its Sydney flights on 18-Dec-2017
  • SIA will likely have five different business class products in the Australia market in 2018 as the 787-10 is introduced
  • However, SIA will be reducing number of business class products in the Australia market over the next few years as older model 777s and A330s are phased out
  • SIA’s positioning in Australia has long been weakened by having too many aircraft types and configurations

SIA now serves Australia with a mix of A380s, A330-300s, A350-900s, 777-300ERs, 777-200ERs and 777-200s. SIA has three business class products in the Australia market and uses eight different aircraft configurations across the six aircraft types.

The A350-900s and 777-300ERs have the same lie flat business class seat, which was initially introduced in 2013. The 777-200ERs and A380s currently have an older generation of the same lie flat business class seat which was initially introduced in late 2006.

The A330-300s and 777-200s have an angled flat business class seat that was initially introduced in 2009. The angled flat seats are in 2-2-2 configuration while all the lie flat seats are in 1-2-1 configuration, providing all aisle access. A lie flat product is generally now provided in the core Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney markets while the angled flat product is now provided to Adelaide, Canberra and Perth (although some Perth flights are lie flat and some Melbourne flights are still angled flat).

The number of different business class products SIA offers in Australia will increase to four on 18-Dec-2017, when SIA introduces its recently unveiled new generation premium product on one of its Singapore-Sydney flights. The new seat is debuting on five new A380s that SIA will take delivery of over the next year and will also be installed on 14 existing A380s by the end of 2020.

See related report: Singapore Airlines to increase capacity to Sydney as new A380s are introduced

The number of business class products SIA offers in Australia is expected to increase to five in 2018 as the airline begins deploying its new fleet of 787-10s in Australia. The 787-10s will feature SIA’s new regional business class product and will be deployed on medium haul routes within Asia Pacific including Australia.

SIA has not yet announced initial routes for the 787-10 or unveiled the inflight product. However, the 787-10 is expected to feature lie flat business class seats in a 1-2-1 configuration, offering a significant improvement over the business class product in the A330s, 777-200s and 777-300s that the 787-10s will replace.

SIA will only temporarily have five business class products in the Australia market as it will be phasing out some its older products over the next few years.

SIA a should again have a manageable three business class products in Australia in 2019 or 2020. This will include the new product which is being introduced this month on the A380, the product which will be introduced on the 787-10 fleet in 2018 and the product which is now on the 777-300ER and A350-900. SIA at least for now is not planning to retrofit its 777-300ER or A350-900 fleet using the new seat being introduced on the new batch of A380s.

While having three different products is still relatively cumbersome, all the products will be lie flat, providing a more consistent offering than currently. SIA will also not have nearly as many aircraft configurations, which will make it easier from aircraft rotation and product consistency standpoints.

SIA now uses eight configurations in Australia, including two for the A380, two for the 777-300ER and one each for the A330-300, A350-900, 777-200 and 777-200ER.

However, SIA is moving to just one A380 configuration and one 777-300ER configuration.  SIA’s is introducing over the next couple of years a single 471-seat four-class configuration for the A380 fleet compared to the two configurations currently (441-seat four-class and 379-seat four-class). SIA will briefly use three A380 configurations in Australia this winter but will likely transition all Australia A380 flights to the new 471-seat four-class configuration by 2019.

SIA is completing in 2018 a retrofit programme for the 777-300ER which will result in all aircraft having a 264-seat four-class configuration. Currently a small portion of the 777-300ER fleet is in a 278-seat three-class configuration without premium economy; for the time being some Australia flights are still operated with these aircraft.

SIA’s regional fleet is expected to transition from six configurations currently to just two. This will improve the consistency of SIA’s premium product across Asia. In Australia, SIA will still likely be using two regional feet configurations, including the new three class 787-10 and a regional three class variant of the A350-900 which is expected to be delivered from 2019 and have the same product as the 787-10.

Overall SIA will likely have four or five configurations in the Australia market next decade depending on if SIA operates both the four-class long haul A350 and three class regional A350 in Australia. Regardless SIA will be down to four aircraft types including the A380, A350-900, 777-300ER and 787-10.

SIA’s positioning in Australia has long been weakened by having too many aircraft types and configurations. During certain periods the Melbourne or Sydney route alone have had five aircraft types. SIA will finally resolve this weakness over the next couple of years, providing a better and more consistent product for the Australian market.