Upholding its name for maintaining the most modern fleet, Singapore Airlines has taken delivery of a new Airbus A330, the first of 19 leased from the French manufacturer. These will be used regional and medium-haul routes until such time the A350 XWB-900s, which hasn’t been built yet, can be released. The A330 and A350 are similar in size and type (twin engined wide body). The A330 is replacing the 10-year-old Boeing B777 – now 10 years old – on regional and medium-haul routes. Seat numbers are the same.

Initially, the A330 will operate some short sectors between Singapore and Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta in late February and March before fully going commercial on March 30, flying the Singapore-Brisbane route. Singapore-Perth, followed by Adelaide and Nagoya in June and Osaka in March 2010.

The aircraft’s Business Class seat product is not expected to be fully flat like those found on the A380 and B777-300ER but rather, angled lie flat. They won’t be as wide either. There are 30 of these in the premium cabin in a forward facing 2-2-2 configuration. Economy class boasts 252 of the new-generation seat type in a 2-4-2 configuration, featuring more personal space and legroom and the enhanced KrisWorld IFE. For the first time, iPod and iPhone connectivity will be offered to every customer, regardless of class.

SIA has also teamed up with the Dubai-based Jumeirah hospitality group to allow Krisflyer members to earn miles when staying at the chain’s properties in Dubai, London and New York, all served by the carrier.

In other developments, Bangkok Airways and Etihad Airways are code sharing on the Bangkok-Phuket and Bangkok-Koh Samui sectors. Etihad’s chief executive James Hogan this was to cater to “the huge demand amongst our customers “to travel beyond the Thai capital”.

Japan Airlines for its part reduced frequencies to Bangkok, Beijing and Shanghai from Narita International Airport to for the period until March 28 due to the poor economic climate.

For more details, visit www.singaporeair.com; www.etihadairways.com; www.bangkokair.com; www.jal.co.jp/en.

He Ruiming