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SIA to retime A380 departures out of Australia

3 Feb 2010 by BusinessTraveller

Travellers bound for Asia are the beneficiaries of SIA’s decision to reschedule its A380 flights linking Australia with Singapore.

Right now SIA’s A380s operate a tea time flight out of both Sydney and Melbourne. But from March 29 the superjumbos will be switched to flights departing in the morning.

It is a notable development because, traditionally, SIA has used its largest and best planes to operate the late afternoon departures from Sydney and Melbourne.

Why? Because these two flights dovetail perfectly in Singapore with a myriad of onward overnight services to the UK, mainland Europe and Scandinavia. And SIA has always been a major player on the kangaroo route.

The use of the A380s on morning services out of Australia would suggest that SIA considers its Asian routes have become important enough to warrant use of the “big bird.”

A380-operated flight SQ220 will depart Sydney at 0905 and reach Singapore at 1430 while its counterpart from Melbourne, SQ238, will leave at 1110 and arrive in Singapore at 1610. 

Connections at Singapore are available not just to destinations within the immediate region but also to cities farther afield like Hong Kong (SQ2 at 1750), Manila (SQ918 at 1705). Shanghai (SQ836 at 1725) and Beijing (SQ810 at 1720).

For its part, SIA maintains the new schedules allow better utilisation of its flagship planes. They will now spend less time on the ground in Australia and the better use of the A380s mean that capacity can be found to launch the new A380 route to Zurich at the end of March  (see online news January 14).

That is true. But it is also true that passengers bound for the likes of London Heathrow, Paris CDG and Zurich can no longer enjoy A380 comfort all the way to Europe unless they are prepared to hang around Changi airport for many hours or make a stopover. And a break of journey in Singapore may or may not be convenient.

What planes will operate the tea time flights in place of the A380s ?  

Out of Sydney, SQ222 at 1615 will be rostered for a B777-300ER which has the new first and business classes including fully flat beds in a spacious four across (1-2-1) layout.  But the picture is not so rosy from Melbourne as SQ228 at 1645 will now be operated by a B777-300.

Although SIA assures readers of Business Traveller that this will be a retrofitted craft with the new first class seating, those passengers booked in business class will experience a “downgrade.” That is because the B777-300 has the medium-haul version of business class with angled lie-flat seats in a less spacious six across (2-2-2) layout.

Finally note that:

  • A380 timings between Singapore and Sydney/Melbourne remain unchanged.  Both SQ221 to Sydney at 2035 and SQ227 at 2100 continue to link with the previous night’s departures from Europe and so on (in addition to connections from Asian points).
  • From April 5, the onset of Eastern Standard Time means that flights depart Sydney and Melbourne one hour earlier.

For more information visit singaporeair.com.

Report by Alex McWhirter

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