New business class for SIA's A330s

2 Jan 2009 by Sara Turner

Singapore Airlines (SIA) will be offering passengers another business class product when the first of a new 19-strong fleet of twin-engined A330-300s enters service in March.

These 285-seater two-class (business and economy) planes will eventually take over from SIA’s older B777-200s which are currently used on regional routes.

Initially SIA’s new A330s will ply between Singapore and secondary cities in Australia and Japan. But in the longer term they are expected to operate within Asia and undertake longer stages to destinations in India and the Gulf.

The A330’s first commercial route will be from Singapore to Brisbane (on March 30), where this craft will take over all three daily flights. This will be followed by Perth (with all three daily flights switching to A330 operation between April and May) and Adelaide (single daily flight switching to A330s from June). Another route, Singapore to Nagoya in Japan, will also be converted to A330 operation by June.

SIA says it will not reveal details of the A330’s business class seating until later this month. All SIA will say is that it will be installing 30 seats in a 2-2-2 layout which means that the seating will be different to the spacious and popular Space Beds (the widest business class seat aloft) which are found on SIA’s new B777-300ERs and A380s plying its most important routes. The business class configuration on these craft (which feature wider cabins than the A330s) is just four across, disposed 1-2-1.

It’s believed that the A330s business class seat pitch will be 60 ins which, based on the six across layout, would suggest that the A330s seating will be angled lie-flat rather than fully flat like the Space Beds.

The many Europeans who book business class on SIA’s B777-300ERs and A380s to Singapore then on to Australia may be confused and disappointed when they find seat comfort “downgraded” on the final sector to Brisbane, Perth or Adelaide.

The A330s are being leased from Airbus and may only stay in service for a few years.  These planes are a stopgap solution pending the arrival of new and state-of-the-art A350s from Airbus in a few years’ time.

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Report by Alex McWhirter

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